In Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite, Mira Sorvino played Linda Ash, a slow-minded prostitute and porn-actress with an almost unbearable voice and a typical heart of gold. In her performance, Mira Sorvino benefits a great deal from Woody Allen’s screenplay – Mighty Aphrodite is one of his weaker efforts and nothing in it truly excites except for the character of Linda who is written as the perfect scene-stealer and given one hilarious line after another. So it was easy for Mira Sorvino to steal the show but she did not only become a vessel for Allen’s lines but instead created a wonderful, memorable and hilarious character.
The biggest accomplishment of Mira Sorvino is the fact that she was able to combine Linda’s experience and lifestyle with a believable and intriguing child-like innocence. Even when she is saying lines like ‘There was this guy f**king me from behind and there were these two huge guys dressed like cops in my mouth at the same time’, there is something so sweet and innocent about her. Her Linda is not naïve in the sense that she doesn’t know any better – she chose her lifestyle but is also aware that she would like to change it. Yes, she is a bit stupid but Mira Sorvino fortunately treats Linda with all her respect – something that neither Woody Allen nor the movie do. The fact that Allen actually gives Linda a line like ‘He has to be as smart as I am’ when she talks about a guy for her is almost repellent – up until now Linda has never appeared to see herself as smart or anything like that so this line was nothing but a cheap, unnecessary shot at Linda’s costs. But Mira Sorvino beautifully survives all this and gives Linda a lot of unexpected depth and dimensions – when she tells Larry that she is the only one in her family with any ambition, it is strangely believable. She is also very touching when she tells Larry about her child which she gave up for adoption or at the end after she was hit by a guy or when she talks about her hopes and dreams – Mira Sorvino knows how to create a Linda who is both hilariously inappropriate but also beautifully lost.
But besides being touching, Mira Sorvino is most definitely another thing – incredibly funny. Throwing out lines like ‘Isn’t is a pisser?’ or ‘I hate it when a guy comes in, wipes out a big dick and waves it all over the joint’ or ‘I just got a small part in an Angela Dawnson movie!…I get to do it with her!’, she gives a true comedic tour-de-force performance that is a constant ray of light in an otherwise boring and insignificant movie.
I know this performance is not among the most popular in this category but I think that Mira Sorvino is simply wonderful.