Two words could not more aptly describe Woody
Allen's lead Character Emmet Ray, played picture
perfectly by Sean Penn. Emmet smokes on the jazz
guitar of the early 1900's (remember that
century?)and is considered the best of his era ...
well except for this gypsy guy in France.
Penn does a slick job of fluttering his fingers
across the fretboard, you might actually think he's
playing. Perhaps it helps to have a brother in the
music world. I've got two of Michael Penn's CD's, if
you like thoughtful alternative/folk rock - I'd
recommend giving him a try.
But the real charm of the movie is Emmet's sweet
and lowdown appeal. Emmet's idea of showing a "dame"
a good time is taking her to the local dump to shoot
rats. It's one of his favorite things to do, so why
wouldn't it be enchanting to share with his date?
In a marvelous scene boozer, Romeo, pimp,
kleptomaniac, music prodigy, Emmet Ray and his buddy
are out looking for babes when they stumble across
Hattie (Samantha Morton) and her friend. They quibble
over which man should get which woman. Emmet, happy
to be paired with "the small one" (Hattie), becomes
uncontrollably fidgety when he learns Hattie is mute.
"Hey, let's trade - just for a while," he pleads with
his buddy, "This is my day off, I want a talking
He's so offensively childlike in his frankness,
while a genius with the guitar. That makes for a rich
character. Penn, one of the finest actors of our
time, revels in all his sincere absurdity.
Samantha Morton aptly fills her character's shoes
without a word, while Uma Thurman showing up later
adds little to the picture. Woody himself appears as
one of a panel of modern-day jazz experts who comment
on Emmet Ray stories directly to the camera, making
the film a mock-documentary.
I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but this is a good