A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)

A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)
  • Time: 119 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Shainee Gabel
  • Cast: John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht, Deborah Kara Unger


Upon hearing of her mother’s death, jaded teenage loner Purslane Hominy Will returns to New Orleans for the first time in years, ready to reclaim her childhood home. Expecting to find her late mother’s house abandoned, Pursy is shocked to discover that it is inhabited by two of her mother’s friends: Bobby Long, a former literature professor, and his young protégé, Lawson Pines. These broken men, whose lives took a wrong turn years before, have been firmly rooted in the dilapidated house for years, encouraged only by Lawson’s faltering ambitions to write a novel about Bobby Long’s life. Having no intention of leaving, Pursy, Bobby Long and Lawson are all forced to live together. Yet as time passes, their tenuous, makeshift arrangement unearths a series of buried personal secrets that challenges their bonds, and reveals just how inextricably their lives are intertwined.

One comment

  • I rate this movie with an 8 despite some critical flaws. It is quite well directed, shot in bright colors, and pervaded by the languid, hot and humid atmosphere of the tropics. I have never been to the New Orleans portrayed here (and regretfully, never will) but it feels as I had imagined it. The story is basically a character study with a plot that is entirely predictable. Although psychologically sound on paper, it just doesn’t seem to work for me, mainly because Macht and Travolta are entirely miscast.

    Travolta looks ridiculous with his artificial gray hair. He lacks all the manners and movement characteristic of alcoholics, and is almost comic in his sorry attempts. He is also completely unbelievable as the disgraced professor of English literature. Gabriel Macht plays the protégé who by some contrived twist is responsible for his professor’s fall and has to write the latter’s biography in order to redeem himself and absolve his mentor. But Macht is just too nice a guy to play this guilt-driven alcoholic writer, as he lacks the bitterness and edge the part requires. Some of the acting, especially by Dane Rhodes (as Cecil) is downright ridiculous. The only bright spot, and it is very bright, is Scarlett Johannson who by here subtle acting almost singlehandedly saves this movie.

    Apart from Johannson and the general atmosphere of this movie, some dialogs are quite good and the soundtrack is great and unbelievably, these factors compensate some very crucial mistakes.

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