Woody Allen's latest endeavor links the foibles of modern-day romance with their counterparts in Greek mythology. As the story of a New York couple, played by Woody Allen and Helena Bonham Carter (A Room With a View, Howard's End) unfolds, key issues in their relationship are amusingly commented upon by a Greek chorus led by F. Murray Abraham and featuring Jocasta (Olympia Dukakis), Laius (David Ogden Stiers) and Tiresias (Jack Warden). These scenes are humorously choreographed to create a whimsical statement about seemingly serious threats to the couple's marriage.
The film is well cast, making it appear that Allen wrote the screenplay with particular actors in mind. But, he says, casting was done afterwards and he attributes the appropriateness of the casting to the caliber of actors he attracts. As he says, "All of the people I cast in my films are good, they're realistic. The don't have to behave in a funny or silly way; if the are credible and do their characters properly, they will appear funny."
What is important to Allen as a director is to get the ideas of the story across to the viewer. The fact that the stories he weaves are so humorous in and of themselves allows him to extend a great deal of flexibility to his actors in conveying the basic silliness of the story.
Allen has captivated me with virtually all of his films because of the warmth and humor interspersed throughout them. His gift to audiences is his ability to examine our serious, and sometimes desperate, undertakings and present them as sober and silly at the same time. I walk away from a Woody Allen film with an increased awareness of the lightheartedness of being and the transitory nature of doom.
Mighty Aphrodite is no exception. While taking a grave look at the pains and pleasures of monogamy, he has allowed the pleasures to triumph and all the pains to serve as funny digressions which add laughs and color to the journey.
Mighty Aphrodite also stars Mira Sorvino as the prostitute Linda, whom Sorvino ranks as "the greatest dumb blond role written in the past 25 years..." and Michael Rappaport as the boxer Kevin who yearns to find a woman with simple traditional values.
Don't miss this funny new comedy!