Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Another comedy in the long line of the talented director Woody Allen.
Woody himself stars and directs next to Helena Bonham Carter, Mira Sorvino, F. Murray Abraham, and Peter Weller.
Lenny and his wife, Amanda adopt a baby. Lenny realizes that his son is a genius and becomes obsessed with finding the boy's biological mother in hopes that she will be brilliant too. But Max's mother is Linda Ash; she is actually a kindhearted prostitute and porn star. So what's a man like Lenny to do? Well he is determined to reform her immoral lifestyle. After all she wants to be in Broadway. Shes so full of life. A Greek chorus chimes in at the beginning to relate the plot to Greek mythology. It's funny too cause they act as guides for Lenny during the course of his journey.
Lenny gets to know this woman while his wife is drifting off. Is it possible
Linda can ever have a normal life with her kid knowing Lenny's taking care of him? At some point both of them become broken in their lives which makes them good to confide in each other.
Woody Allen directs more of a comedy Greek tragedy this time around full of great actors and some contemplation about life's struggles and choices. These people are cheap in their own respects but also full of coming back to what they love and hold dear.
Life is unbelievable, ironic, sad, and incredible. When you're smiling, the whole world does smile with you. Woody Allen here makes a story about life's unexpected joys and choices that can lead to unpredictable moments.
It's not one of his crowning achievements but the performers still make the script appealing.
Mira Sorvino's performance is the only good thing about it.
The 1990s are not looked upon as the best decade for Woody Allen's output as a director with the famously prolific comedy legend making films that earned Academy Awards but received largely mixed critical reception. This was one of his successes as Mira Sorvino won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film and would fail to do anything else of any note in the following years other than Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997). I would have to say that I feel this is one of Allen's weaker works as while it is not a trainwreck as Anything Else (2003) and Scoop (2006) supposedly are but it is never all that engaging and feels like a half baked retread of his other, better films.
In the Upper East Side of New York City neurotic sportswriter Lenny Weinrib, Woody Allen, is going through troubles in his marriage to art gallery director Amanda Sloan, Helena Bonham Carter, who decides that she wants to adopt a baby. While initially resistant to the idea Weinrib immediately connects to their adopted son Max and as the boy grows up comes to believe that he is a genius. He chooses to track down Max's biological mother in the belief that she will be extremely intelligent but discovers that her name is Linda Ash, Mira Sorvino, and she is a prostitute and an actress in pornographic films aspiring to perform on Broadway. He helps her in her love life and career while Sloan abandons him for the affections of co-worker Jerry, Peter Weller, who doggedly pursues her. When Ash's prospects appear to be looking down she and Winrib sleep together and he accidentally impregnates her but upon reflection he decides that he must return to Sloan who has also realized that she loves him.
Sorvino is clearly set up as the scene stealer here as while audiences in 1995 would surely have been prepared for Allen to pull out the same old shtick Sorvino was a relative unknown. Her adoption of a nasal voice and deceptive sweetness made her character akin to Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday (1950) but her saying words like ‘cum' and ‘vagina' in an innocent manner is only truly funny once and the fact that this same gag is pulled so often means that it has diminishing returns. I would also say that Sorvino lacks the power of other Allen muses like Dianne Wiest and Judy Davis who bring ferocious energy to their parts and humanize deeply flawed characters while not minimizing their cruelty. I do not see what drove people to reward Sorvino but I assume they thought she would be the next big comedic star, sadly never really did anything with the critical acclaim she received for this performance.
The rest of the film felt slightly off kilter as a lot of familiar Allen themes are present but they do not have the texture of those found in his other work. Bonham Carter plays a role that feels like it was written for Judy Davis and comes across as oddly flat with her half of the story feeling underdeveloped. Obviously Allen tends to value the male perspective over the female so it is unsurprising that she would have less screen time but with what she has to work with she gives us little sense of what drives her character's seemingly erratic behavior and passionate affair. Without the central tension of Weinrib's marriage driving his decision to help Ash we feel an odd disconnect between the two sections of the film as they feel like two completely different products. Even the traditional happy ending in which Allen learns to appreciate life with a melancholy touch is botched here as we are given very little reason to root for his reconciliation with Sloan and his separation from Ash comes out of nowhere.
The film is still watchable but it does not have the sincerity of Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and at it's end you can't help feeling that the film was an enjoyable but empty exercise. With 24 years hindsight it is easy to see why the film is not considered one of Allen's best as it has largely fallen out of public favor and most are now apathetic toward it.
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A real entertaining and easy crowd pleasing movie, Woody gets inventive using greek chrouses to break up the storyline, add some 4th wall breaking elements and have a charming yet seinfeld-esqe rauchy comedy full of endearing characters, great actors and a sweet ending somewhat unexpected from allen but with enough irony and closure to have you feeling good leaving the movie - a favourite for many for good reason!
Probably his best film from the 90's and a return to form.
Sorvino is tremendous in her Oscar winning turn.
A lot of genuine laugh out loud moments and some text book Allen awkwardness.
"-Of all human weaknesses, obsession is the most dangerous, and the silliest!"
Although the Greek interludes are annoying and the cinematography doesn't quite dazzle as much as it does in some of Allen's films, there's enough pathos and hilarity in Mighty Aphrodite to make it more than a worthwhile watch. Still a million times better than anyone else.
Woody Allen's jabber.
Somewhat bitter and sweet story, pretty good.
"Of all human weaknesses, obsession is the most dangerous, and the silliest!"