Sweet and Lowdown (1999): Woody Allen’s Serio-Comedy, Starring Sean Penn and Samantha Morton

Woody Allen directed Sweet and Lowdown, a serio-comedy set in the 1930s, starring Sean Penn and Samantha Morton.

Loosely based on Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Strada, the film tells the fictional story of a self-confident jazz guitarist Emmet Ray (Penn), who falls in love with a mute woman (Morton).

Allen instructed Morton to think of her character as a variation of Harpo Marx.

Like several of Allen’s other films, this feature is occasionally interrupted by interviews with critics and biographers like Allen, Nat Hentoff, and Douglas McGrath, who comment on the plot as if the characters were real-life people.

Oscar Alert

Sean Penn and Samantha Morton both received Oscar nominations, for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.