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A Love Song For Bobby Long

Drama movie directed by Shainee Gabel

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Travolta channels Truman Capote - and it works really well.

  • Sep 27, 2007
John Travolta plays Bobby Long, a one time college English professor from Alabama whose uninhibited ways cost him his family and former life. He is now a literature spouting drunk, living in the house of Lorraine Wills, a singer-songwriter, who died young from drink and a hard life. Living with him is Lawson Pine, Bobby's former teaching assistant, who one day intends to write the great American novel about his mentor, none other than Bobby Long. One day the book will get written, if Lawson can stay sober enough and resist the languid ways of the Big Easy.

Lorraine is dead - and her estranged daughter, Pursey, comes to the house. The men tell her that each of them owns a third of the house. Scarlett Johansson is very well suited to the role of Purslane Hominy Will, a high school drop-out, living with her boyfriend in a trailer park in Panama City FL.

At first, Bobby seems determined to drive Pursey away, an effort Lawson reluctantly assists with for a while.

As Pursey digs in her heels, the men come to respect her. They insist she finish high school. She demands they quit drinking.

The relationships become deeper as hostility begrudingly turns into respect and affectation between these three very different people, who share the universal wants and desires of all people.

Travolta plays his role well, though I feel he studied films and tapes of Truman Capote interviews. Macht plays his role as if he were simply being himself. Johansson in many ways has the most difficult role and she plays it well.

I won't give away more of the story for fear of spoiling the movie for others.

It's a sweet film, a nice little story. Not blockbuster material, not even necessarily a film that you'll vividly remember. It's just a sweet touching story typical of Southern, particularly New Orleans, stories. Lots of sad and lonely people who try hard to seize what little happiness they can scratch from life.


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More A Love Song For Bobby Long reviews
review by . April 20, 2005
For those who have read Ronald Everett Capps' novel 'Off Magazine Street' and savor the slow, lugubrious, decadent pattern of life in the poor section of New Orleans, then Screenwriter/Director Shainee Gabel's transformation of those ideas into A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG will certainly satisfy. Though Gabel has manipulated characters names and identification to fit her sensitive interpretation of Capps' story into a visual manifestation, the changes are sound and serve to make this remarkably fine …
About the reviewer
Jerry Saperstein ()
I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader.      Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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Dipping a spoon in a jar of peanut butter and coating it in M&Ms while watching gory medical shows on television is, for Pursy (Scarlett Johansson), an afternoon well-spent. But, when her mother's death forces her to get off the couch and leave her trailer park and grimy boyfriend behind, she finds some new friends who have her bested in the sloth department. Arriving at her late mother's home in New Orleans, she meets Bobby Long (John Travolta) and his sidekick Lawson (Gabriel Macht), two sweaty alcoholics who are squatting in the dilapidated dwelling. Bobby Long not only lies to Pursy about the fact that she legally owns the house--taking advantage of her innocence--he also behaves like an angry and aggressive dirty old man. It is Lawson who sees Pursy for who she is--a directionless 18-year-old girl who desperately needs guidance and positive role models. His fatherly support sparks an instant crush between the two, which only fuels Bobby's drinking and deviance. However, with time and patience the th...
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