A Love Song For Bobby Long

"OK"

A Love Song For Bobby Long Review


"A Love Song for Bobby Long" is set in New Orleans among a community of alcoholics, has-beens and screw-ups, where one can get away with shambling down to the neighborhood dive bar while wearing a dingy, once-white suit and no shoes.

John Travolta plays the title character, a drunken former literary professor with fuzzy gray hair. Bobby shares a run-down house with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht), a once-promising writer whom Bobby claims to be mentoring.

Scarlett Johansson co-stars as Pursy Will, a trailer park dweller who inherits the same house from her long lost mother. Pursy moves in and each side begins trying to intimidate the other into moving out. But of course, the three misfits become fast friends.

The film lazily moves through several little vignettes, each designed to suddenly reveal something new about the characters, even if it's already obvious.

On any movie, a director must decide how much to give away and how much to hold back. It's a fine line, and writer/director Shainee Gabel, who makes her feature debut here, wobbles all over it. When "A Love Song for Bobby Long" concentrates on moving its plot forward, it aims too wide and clumsily lays bare all its secrets and twists. Yet at other times, it delivers lovely little scenes that capture a mood and time and place. In one sweet Southern moment, Travolta sits around in a circle of lawn chairs, singing songs and drinking beer, for no reason other than that it feels nice.

While attempting a balance between the two kinds of scenes, Gabel fails to find her pacing, and the film goes on way too long, stumbling along for a full two hours. It would have made a powerful short story, similar to the wonderful little Louisiana films "Eve's Bayou" and "First Love, Last Rites," simply capturing a moment in time.

This uneasy concoction also affects the film's performances. Travolta rasps and slurs through his lines with elegance and enthusiasm, and if it weren't just a tad precious and mannered, it may even resemble another comeback performance for this up-again, down-again actor. Johansson does what she can with this fairly thin role, which doesn't compare to the riches of last year's "Lost in Translation" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring."

"A Love Song for Bobby Long" has a lovely surface, but to truly succeed, this film needed a more delicate touch, a feel for the rotted underside of things and for hopeless searching.



A Love Song For Bobby Long

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st January 2005

Box Office USA: $0.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $1.8M

Distributed by: Lions Gate Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Bobby Long, as Pursy Will, as Lawson Pines, Sonny Shroyer as Earl, as Lee, as Cecil, as Georgianna, Patrick McCullough as Streetcar Boy, as Junior, Walter Breaux as Ray, Bernard Johnson as Tiny, as Ruthie, as Sean, Gina 'Ginger' Bernal as Waitress, Don Brady as Old Man, Steve Maye as Man #3, Douglas M. Griffin as Man #1, Earl Maddox as Man #2, Will Barnett as Old Man #2, Leanne Cochran as Streetcar Girl

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.