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Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 10 March 2000 (USA)
2:02 | Trailer

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In the 1930s, jazz guitarist Emmet Ray idolizes Django Reinhardt, faces gangsters and falls in love with a mute woman.



Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Duncan ...
A.J. Pickman
Ace - Pool Player
Hazel - Hooker #1
Iris - Hooker #2
Darryl Alan Reed ...
Marc Damon Johnson ...
Steve Bargonetti ...
Musician Friend
Benjamin Franklin Brown ...
Musician Friend
Vince Giordano ...
Bass Player #1


A comedic biopic focused on the life of fictional jazz guitarist Emmett Ray. Ray was an irresponsible, free-spending, arrogant, obnoxious, alcohol-abusing, miserable human being, who was also arguably the best guitarist in the world. We follow Ray's life: bouts of getting drunk, his bizzare hobbies of shooting rats and watching passing trains, his dreams of fame and fortune, his strange obsession with the better-known guitarist Django Reinhardt, and of course, playing his beautiful music. Written by Martin Lewison <mlewison@utk.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jazz | train | rat | gangster | 1930s | See All (39) »


Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some substance abuse | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 March 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Woody Allen Fall Project 1998  »

Box Office


$29,750,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$94,686 (USA) (3 December 1999)


$4,196,621 (USA) (19 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Woody Allen pays a clever homage to Federico Fellini's La Strada (1954). The characters of Emmet (Penn) and Hattie (Morton) correspond to Zampano (Quinn) and Gelsomina (Masina) including the final scene with Emmet's/Zampano's breakdown and repentance. See more »


The food on Emmett's fork disappears. See more »


Emmet Ray: D'you like that? I knew you would. They say I'm a wonderful lover.
See more »


Featured in The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) See more »


3:00 AM Blues
Written by Dick Hyman
Performed by Howard Alden, Kelly Friesen, Joel Helleny, Dick Hyman,
Ken Peplowski, Ted Sommer and Byron Stripling
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hats Off To 'Hattie!'
24 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a strange movie, but one made a little bit special to me because of one memorable character: "Hattie," played by Samantha Morton. What a wonderful, endearing character! The sweet look on her face alone makes this movie worth keeping.

Another huge positive for this film is the cinematography. This is beautifully shot with great colors which look all the better on DVD.

As mentioned by other reviewers, Sean Penn also does an excellent job in the lead. The shocker for me was how good a comedic touch he exhibits. Putting his general persona or politics aside, this man deserves kudos as an actor.

There is a third very different and interesting character in this movie: "Blanche," played by Uma Thurman, who portrays an amoral woman in the last part of the film. She, too, is fascinating.

So....three interesting characters, great photography AND terrific music - jazz guitar is a central part of this story - all make for a fun hour-and-a-half of entertainment.

36 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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