Mighty Aphrodite (Dir. Woody Allen/1995)
There is a point in the Woody Allen filmography whereby his front-and-centre roles seem at odds with the story. 1995’s Mighty Aphrodite may be the moment he crosses the line. Interspersed with a Greek chorus, Mighty Aphrodite begins as sportswriter Lenny (Allen) becomes obsessed with finding the Mother of his genius, adopted child. Co-starring Helena Bonham-Carter as Lenny’s career-driven wife and Mira Sorvino (winning an Oscar for her role) as prostitute Linda, the aforementioned Mother, this should be amongst Woody’s best but it becomes a quiet horn compared to his orchestra of films. The symmetrical outcome of relationships does somehow ring a classical tune creating an inversed Greek tragedy of sorts. But Woody does seem out of place; jarring against the backdrop of younger actors that dominate the screen. His relationship with considerably-younger Linda combined with an adopted-child story seems strangely, unsettlingly poignant – but isn’t that why we love Woody?