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A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)

Scarlett Johansson , John Travolta , Shainee Gabel  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Scarlett Johansson, John Travolta, Gabriel Macht, Deborah Kara Unger, Dane Rhodes
  • Directors: Shainee Gabel
  • Writers: Shainee Gabel, Ronald Everett Capps
  • Producers: Anson Downes, Bob Yari, Brad Krevoy, Chad Marting, David Lancaster
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007Q6VY6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,828 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Love Song for Bobby Long" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Upon hearing of her mother's death, jaded teenage loner Purslane Hominy Will (Scarlett Johansson) 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 (John Travolta), a former literature professor, and his young protégé, Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht). 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.

Amazon.com

A misfit drama in the grand Southern (by way of Hollywood) tradition, A Love Song for Bobby Long takes its cue from Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Re-establishing his indie-cred, John Travolta adds Bobby Long to his gallery of colorful characters. Hobbled by an infected toe, the 50-something Bobby is a white-haired, unshaven, vodka-soaked mess. But he’s also a former English professor, and the piles of books in his ramshackle house, and the authors he drunkenly quotes give him a wounded dignity. Just how wounded will be revealed over the course of this atmospheric tale of redemption and penance. Bobby lives with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht), his former teaching assistant who is writing a book about his mentor, a project deferred by drinking, sitting around with the locals, or engaging in quotation oneupsmanship. Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Ghost World) holds her own against Travolta ("You are such a shameless ham," she chastises the loquacious Bobby) as Pursy, the estranged daughter of Lorraine, a recently deceased singer-songwriter in whose house Bobby and Lawson reside. A battle of wills between the two men and the headstrong young girl gives way to the formation of a tentative family unit. Pursy agrees to return to high school if Bobby and Lawson quit drinking. There will be the expected revelations, recriminations, and dramatic confrontations, but what makes this Love Songresonate are the performances by a cast that rarely hits a false note. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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 low budget film a humid, alcoholically lethargic slice of New Orleans as viable as, say, Tennessee Williams. There is a captured ambience of the South complete with decay, shanties, intermittent rain, and aimless broken lives that sets a fine stage for a rather minimal story.

Purslane Hominy Will (Scarlett Johansson) is a young high school dropout living in trailer park trash in Florida with a low class boyfriend Lee (Clayne Crawford) when she learns of her mother Lorraine's death in New Orleans. Though she hasn't seen or heard from her obese, druggie, songwriter mother in years, she wants to attend her funeral and strikes out for New Orleans.

Arriving on the doorstep of her mother's rundown, rotting house, she discovers Bobby Long (John Travolta), an unkempt drunk who once was an English professor in a college in Alabama but fell into oblivion and alcohol when he lost his wife and family. He is living in filth with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht) who, as Bobby's teaching assistant whom Bobby has deemed gifted, has followed Bobby to write Bobby's biography - a work in progress that has stalemated in favor of alcoholism and disillusionment.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film!!! May 30, 2005
Format:DVD
I won't go through a scene by scene description of the film since others have already done that. I will say that this is an excellent film with real characters and complex personalities. There is no sex, nobody is blown up, not an once of blood and still it's vastly entertaining! Who would have thought it? Bobby and Percy and Lawson are all very real and earthy people with real and earthy problems that aren't washed away in an instant by miracles. I've read that this movie went on too long.......In my opinion it wasnt long enough. Great Work!!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Weeds and undesirable elements seem to be extremely resilient to whatever tries to remove them. These undesirables might even try to get rid of themselves in the process, but only grow stronger as time passes. In a remote and undisturbed place these undesirables can find a spot where they can find support, like-mindedness, or respectful privacy. Some undesirables have a stunning appearance, but nonetheless they are rejects. A Love Song for Bobby Long is a story about a small group of undesirable's in the outskirts of New Orleans where the magic of the city still can touch them.

The camera opens shooting a man who the audience later discovers as Bobby Long (John Travolta) who lights a cigarette amidst the haze of alcohol while stumbling towards the door with a paper bag covering a bottle of booze. When Bobby opens the door blinding light enter the room, as if the daylight would be something foreign and new to him. Stumbling Bobby moves in an intended direction, as if he has a purpose. He limps due to a discolored toe that probably gives him difficulty in wearing proper shoes, as he wears a slipper on the aching foot. Limping and stumbling Bobby arrives to a graveyard to pay his respects to Lorraine, someone near and dear who recently has passed away.

Some distance away from New Orleans in Florida lives Pursy Will (Scarlett Johansson) Lorraine's only daughter who finds out from her deadbeat boyfriend that her mother has died. Angry Pursy packs her belonging and leaves for New Orleans to attend the funeral, as she discovers that she has arrived too late and two men live in her mother's decaying house, Bobby and Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht). Quickly, Pursy learns that these men are not leaving, and these two alcoholic losers, especially Bobby, do not desire her presence.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of This Year's Best January 29, 2006
Format:DVD
I'm not picky about movies, but a lot of times I find myself trying to avoid the drawn-out character studies. They really get to me usually, firing straight down into my core, making me really feel. And that makes my somewhat ansy. The truth is that the best movies are often the ones we tend to overlook, and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't want to watch this. I'm so glad I did. It was the best couple hours I've spent watching a movie in a long time.

Bobby Long is John Travolta, an ex-English professor who once had a big house and a nice family, but now lives in a dilapidated home in New Orleans where he drinks like a fish and eloquently rants about how wonderfully misunderstood he is. He lives with a younger man named Lawson, a former student of Long's, and an aspiring writer. Most of his work ends up in the fireplace. The home these two guys share belonged to a woman named Lorraine, who has just passed away, everyone being able to tell stories about what a great woman she was. Lorraine had an estranged daughter named Pursy (Scarlett Johansson), and upon learning about her mother's death, leaves Florida and her trailer-park life to discover the memory of her mother, as well as discover herself with the help of a couple very intelligent drunks. Just when Bobby thinks he has learned all he could ever know, life throws him a curve ball.

Truly, a wonderful film. It moves along at a decent pace, slow enough for you to feel sucked into the Alabama lifestyle they lead, but fast enough to keep you interested in their engrossing lives. Don't skip out on this one. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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