Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: Woody Allen's latest film is the fanciful biography of a legendary jazz guitarist, Emmet Ray, who clashed with lovers, gangsters, musicians and success itself in the 1930's Jazz scene. Sean Penn stars as the fictional musical genius who during the Swing Era was on his way up but could neverWoody Allen's latest film is the fanciful biography of a legendary jazz guitarist, Emmet Ray, who clashed with lovers, gangsters, musicians and success itself in the 1930's Jazz scene. Sean Penn stars as the fictional musical genius who during the Swing Era was on his way up but could never settle down. (Sony Pictures Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Spencer Abbott
    90
    Allen's deadpan humor shines through every crevice of the film, keeping the pacing sharp, the dialogue snappy, and the situations feeling real.
  2. 88
    (Penn)'s is a lovely, soulful performance in a movie that manages to imbue tragedy with just the right grace note of insouciance -- a movie worthy of Woody Allen himself.
  3. 80
    It is engaging, touching, and frequently funny. Maybe because his hero is inarticulate and his heroine is mute, Allen relies far more than usual on physical comedy than on the verbal jokes that are his strongest comic suit.
  4. 78
    A literate, sophisticated comedy whose humor and loss and hope linger in our hearts, like the jazz music it reveres, both sweet and lowdown.
  5. Isn't Allen's finest work by a long shot, but an undeniable part of its fascination is trying to figure out what -- if anything, even unconsciously -- he's trying to say about how he treated Farrow.
  6. 65
    A vapor trail of a comedy, comfortable as an old chair (and deliciously photographed in shades of melon and banana by Chinese vet Zhao Fei), but ultimately quaint and unchallenging.
  7. 30
    A dud. Neither sweet nor low-down enough by half.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. steves.
    Jan 9, 2006
    10
    I loved the acting. I loved the music. I loved the aesthetic. I loved the feel. Simply sweet. This is one of my favorite movies ever.
  2. AlexM.
    Jan 2, 2006
    9
    Ms Morton's performance, ranks up there with B. Keaton. I loved it. Way to go Sam. You too Sean.
  3. PatC.
    Sep 26, 2006
    7
    Once again we see that, when there is a role for a character in an intolerably obnoxious phase of life, Sean Penn is the one to play him. Not Once again we see that, when there is a role for a character in an intolerably obnoxious phase of life, Sean Penn is the one to play him. Not a pleasant or particularly riveting show, but again we see how Woody Allen can bring a photoplay into a sharply focused and breathtakingly concise conclusion - in this case explaining how Penn's character was finally able to become one with his art. So inevitably the movie gets better upon later reflection. Expand
  4. Sep 1, 2011
    7
    A rewarding and satisfying drama, that satirizes biopics while embodying Allen's love for jazz into a great character, brought to life with aA rewarding and satisfying drama, that satirizes biopics while embodying Allen's love for jazz into a great character, brought to life with a terrific performance by Sean Penn. Sweet and Lowdown is Allen's finest dramatic work. Collapse

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