Mighty Aphrodite

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

Woody Allen's latest movie, MIGHTY APHRODITE, is among his most memorable in recent years. Allen plays, of course, a neurotic character named Lenny, a sportscaster married to Amanda (Helena Bonham Carter). They decide to adopt a child and things are wonderful until their love begins to fade. Lenny decides to track down the adopted child's biological mother. He reasons that if her child is so great, the mother must be great, too, and maybe the two of them could start a new life together. Lenny finally finds the mother, Linda Ash (Mira Sorvino), a prostitute with a low I.Q. Lenny tries to convince Linda to become a hairdresser, so at least when the child is old enough to find his mother, he won't be shocked. While Lenny develops a platonic friendship with Linda, Amanda is flirting with the idea of having an affair. Accompanying this bizarre story line are comments by a Greek chorus led by F. Murray Abraham and the tragic characters of Jocasta, Teiresias, and Cassandra. This is not one of Allen's best or funniest movies, but those who like Greek tragedy will get a few laughs.

The disappointing thing about this movie is how a usually funny filmmaker like Woody Allen feels obliged to use such blatant sexual perversity to get laughs. Always known as a little risque, Allen here turns into a dirty old man with crude, unnecessary and unfunny references to male genitals and the different services a prostitute might provide. Much talk of Linda's porn film roles includes references to lesbian behavior. Breast nudity appears twice, once in a magazine featuring Linda and once on a brief clip of a porn movie. Offensive language includes many profanities and over 15 f-words. On the positive side, the movie does not contain violence or condone adultery, although both Amanda and Lenny have to play around before they realize that they love each other. And Allen seems to get a few jabs in at religion through the complaining of the Greek chorus to gods who are not there. What could have been a much better movie is spoiled by the power of lustful words and images in MIGHTY APHRODITE.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (10) times - Mild 7, Moderate 3

Obscene Language: Many (31) times - F-word 18, s-word 5, others 8

Profanity: Many (16) times - Regular 6 (C, G, J, GD) Exclamatory 10

Violence: None, but implied slaps to face

Sex: Implied twice, once outside of marriage

Nudity: Full breast nudity twice

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (references to male and female genitals, intercourse and unconventional sex)

Drugs: Social drinking few times

Other: God portrayed as non-existent

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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