Sweet and Lowdown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sweet and Lowdown Reviews

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November 15, 2013
did not really catch my interest. could not concentrate. guitar. must have been the reason.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2013
This breezy mockumentary is Woody Allen's loving tribute to period (1930s) Jazz music.

The fictitious Emmet Ray is considered to be the world's best jazz guitarist, if not guitarist in general, second only to his idol Django Reinhardt. The film follows Ray's career throughout the 30s (with occasional talking head contributions) as he goes from gig to gig lighting the places up. Offstage however, his life is a mess. Before he becomes famous, he makes his living as a small time pimp, and his favorite hobbies are shooting rats and watching trains. He's not savvy with his money, and he's rather temperamental, but, when you can get him settled down, he's quite something.

He's not big on love, feeling that it will ruin his career, but he finds himself drawn to a mute laundress named Hattie, especially when he finds that she loves his music. However, his penchant for infidelity sees him running off and eventually impulsively marrying a high society woman named Blanche. For reasons that I don't want to get into, and seem nutty anyway, things fall apart with Blanche, but there is a bit of redemption and hope here for Ray.

One of the amazing things here is that Ray is basically a shiftless, unlikable asshole, but yet you can't help but kinda feel for him and want to see him get through life okay. The film cooks along quite nicely, but then kinda falls apart at the end with a bit of rushed anti-climax. That aside, this film is pretty solid.

I liked the mockumentary approach with the talking heads, and this also seems like something Allen had wanted to do for a while in general, being a big jazz enthusiast. The period details are terrific, the music is top notch, and the performances are golden.

Sean Penn is terrific as Ray, and he may have done his own playing. Knowing him, he probably did. Uma Thurman is fun as Blanche, but the real treat is Samantha Morton as Hattie. Her performance is amazing. Yeah, it kinda feels like Oscar Bait, but don't tell me that having to play a mute is easy. She excels at having to express herself using just facial expressions and body language, and I loved seeing her channel the silent film era of performance. In various smaller roles we also get some fun turns from Anthony LaPaglia, John Waters, and Brad Garrett.

I really enjoyed this. Had it not petered out towards the end, I'd enjoy it even more. It's a strong film, and achieves a decent balance between comedy and drama. If you love jazz, you should definitely give this a look. Same for those of you who dig on Allen. And anyone who wants a good film about music and musicians might be pleased here as well.
September 1, 2013
Stuff legends are made of... Woody Allen gives us a charming mock biopic of a fictional jazz guitarist Emmet Ray with so much sincerity that the viewer almost believes that the character is actually based on a real artist.
August 6, 2013
Maybe Woody Allen's most underrated film? Penn and Morton are both terrific.
April 28, 2013
Hands down - dopest - dope - ever wrote!
April 24, 2013
I barely remember this, but do recall Samantha Morton being outstanding.
March 13, 2013
Fantastic film. Well made, well told, inventive, unique, quirky, with some amazing acting. One of Allen's best films.
½ February 15, 2013
Quite a typical piece from Woody Allen. A mockumentary style comedy set in New York in discussion of the matter of love with the graceful jazz music score. Some of the plots easily get us to remember Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina in Fellini's La Strada. Great performances from Sean Penn and Samantha Morton.
February 10, 2013
The acting really steals the show, but the overall style that Woody Allen brings to the table in this flick is truely different and incredibly well done. It was odd finally seeing a character in a Woody Allen film that I could not see him playing. I had some issues with the ending, but many people I was with loved it so hey- that's just me. Overall, definitely worth a look.
½ February 10, 2013
Loved it! One of my favourite Woody Allen films, if not my favourite...more endearing and laugh out loud than Annie Hall.
½ December 27, 2012
Excelent acting by all in this mock docu-drama, but somehow falls short of a true compelling cinematic experience.
December 7, 2012
Could be worth a viewing, would like to see it sometime in the future.
November 18, 2012
Pra inflar o ego de qualquer violonista.

E a menina muda tá FODA PRA CARALEO.
½ November 18, 2012
No es lo mejor de Woody.
November 10, 2012
Woody Allen's homage to Ray is as neurotically funny as the subject itself and the director himself. One of his best works.
October 26, 2012
I didn't expect to like this a whole lot, I was very pleasantly surprised. I don't think I've liked Sean Penn in anything more than Sweet and Lowdown.
October 18, 2012
Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown is a story that focuses one of Woody's greatest hobbies, which in this case is Jazz music, in which case we follow the story of the fictional Jazz guitarist Emmet Ray (Sean Penn) whom is the second greatest guitarist in the world, right after Django Reinhardt. This takes place in the 1920s. He's has a restless personality and is often late or forget his concerts. He loves parting, alcohol, women and to shoot rats with his gun. But one day when he and his friend is up for some women, Emmet gets a deaf girl named Hattie (Samantha Morton) whom Emmet seems to find very interesting, because she seems interested in him. So she follows him where ever he goes, but Emmet might have some other urges that Hattie can not fulfill.

Sweet and Lowdown is by all means not based on real events, even though it features some interviews with some Jazz people, including Woody himself. But what I liked about this film is that it has multiple alternative endings, because Emmet disappeared and no one really know what really happened to him, so it's with out a doubt an filmmakers treat. And Samantha Morton's performance is almost indescribable, she's just a sweet-pea, her facial express give us more than words, and we become curious about her character and wants to know more. Overall it's a good film, with the good structured characters and the right tone. Thumbs up.
August 11, 2012
Woody Allen's homage to Ray is as neurotically funny as the subject itself and the director himself. One of his best works.
July 10, 2012
Woody Allen's good research mixing documentary and fiction, Emmet Ray has a funny mind of an confuse genius... good jazz, a pleasant film to watch
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