Year of Release: 1999
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman, Anthony LaPaglia, Gretchen Mol, James Urbaniak, John Waters, Brian Markinson
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Synopsis & Review:
"Sweet and Lowdown" was a return to a better critical reception for Woody Allen, after "Celebrity" which was considered a minor effort in his long career. The film maintained the focus on his anti-heroes who constantly sabotage their romantic relationships and invariably find out the love of their lives is the one who got away. This film combines Woody Allen's traditional focus on relationships, with the other emphasis going to music, another one of his loves, particularly Jazz music (and the score selection for this film is impeccable, as usual). The film perfectly captures the energy and environment of the clubs of the 1930s, bringing with it an air of nostalgia that brings to mind other films such as Peter Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon". One of the indelible points of the film are the fantastic performances from Sean Penn and Samantha Morton, both of whom got Academy Award nominations, and for whom this film turned out to be a watershed moment (this was Sean Penn's second nomination after Tim Robbin's "Dead Man Walking" and Morton's big calling card, until Steven Spielberg cast her in "Minority Report"). The cinematography of Zhao Fei is stunning as is the production design of Santo Loquasto. A very good film always worth revisiting.