When shown at the Cannes Film Festival, “Anora” was compared to “Pretty Woman,” and I admit I am guilty of this too. After all, it’s the story of a young stripper who marries an heir. However, despite potentially representing a turning point in Mikey Madison’s career (much like Garry Marshall’s film did for Julia Roberts), there’s not much reason to put two such different titles in the same sentence.

“Anora” preserves the character of Sean Baker’s cinema, a filmmaker passionate about the stories of people in “marginal” positions. When she gets involved with Vanya (Mark Eydelshtein), the title character becomes a target of the Russian mafia. Smooth. What could be a comedy of errors that loses itself in the rush to show 30 situations (absurd and hilarious) at the same time, actually reveals itself to be a sensitive film about a young woman seeking survival and what is rightfully hers.

It is this enchantment with those who lead his films (think ‘Tangerine’, ‘Red Rocket’ and especially ‘The Florida Project’) that Baker uses to guide us through a nocturnal film with a rhythm that harmonizes with the soundtrack (what a trip down memory lane hearing “All The Things She Said” by t.A.T.u.!). The male cast goes beyond mafia stereotypes, but it’s Mikey Madison who truly carries the scenes with a magnetism that reminded me of a young Marisa Tomei.

In this sense, “Anora” is more “My Cousin Vinny” and “After Hours” than the fairy tale with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. It’s a film that allows us to become attached not only to the protagonist but also to those who unexpectedly ally with her. Even though it has bigger ambitions here, Baker remains a storyteller capable of making a simple dialogue about the meaning of a name reveal much about cultural differences and, most importantly, about the trust placed in others.