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Running Time:
1 hour 59 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
A Love Song for Bobby Long

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An atmospheric Southern Gothic melodrama, the kind we haven't seen in awhile, but despite three fine performances, this is not a great film.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Audio commentary with director & cinematographer; Deleted scenes; Behind the scenes of A Love Song for Bobby Long.

A Love Song for Bobby Long
First-time director Shainee Gabel, working from her own script has created a community of characters reminiscent of an early Steinbeck novel with her adaptation of "Off East Magazine St." by R.E. Capps. These are people clinging to the promise of better days ahead. John Travolta plays a dissolute former professor of literature who shares a run-down New Orleans home with a clever but self-doubting young writer named Lawson, played with bright intelligence by Gabriel Macht. In their household, any liquid found in a jar that doesn't smell is a good enough mixer for vodka, while they generally wake themselves up to beer and tomato juice. The film opens following the death of a singer named Lorraine Will whose daughter, Purslane (Scarlet Johansson) shows up two days late for her mother's funeral. She discovers that she now owns one-third of the house that Bobby and Lawson are living in, left to them by Lorraine. So naturally, she moves in. It's obvious that there is more to the story of Bobby and Lawson than meets the eye, but her interest is in finding out about a mother who abandoned her but whom everyone speaks of with such affection. As she begins to have a cleansing effect on the misbehavior of the two men, a sense of family develops. While the plot doesn't hold too many surprises, it does play out satisfyingly as mysteries are revealed. Travolta is gray-haired, unshaven and a bit stooped, but his grizzled and booze-soaked intellect can still charm the local waitresses with a smiling "Cheese on our grits, darlin', please." Although Bobby has a damaged toe, Travolta even gets to dance a sedate Alabama shuffle. Johansson is a study in naturalistic acting with her Florida panhandle accent pitch perfect and her ability to convey tough-mindedness and vulnerability, not to mention that the camera adores her. This may not be a major motion picture, but its the kind of film that isn't often made today, and it's certainly not a dud.

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