Bobby Review

Bobby, directed and written by Emilio Estevez, is set on the day of the California Presidential Primary Elections in 1968. Set in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone, William H. Macy, Shia LaBeouf and many others share one location with seemingly loosely related storylines. Actual footage of Bobby Kennedy is spliced into the movie, mostly to give context to the times that the characters are currently living in.

Smartly, Estevez did not try to cast Bobby Kennedy. The Kennedy charisma is intangible and it would have taken away from the movie if someone else played him. Bobby Kennedy, instead, is an unseen vessel to examine hope and hopelessness. The hopelessness of the war, the economic struggle and the general lack of hope that ravaged America in the late 60's. Remember, the Vietnam War had been raging for several years, parts of the country were suffering economic hardships, fights for equality for women and minorities, general lack of trust of the government by the citizens and vise versa. Obviously, to Estevez, Bobby Kennedy was a beacon and a symbol of hope.

The other characters are separated into small groups. Each group examines a different social, economic, or cultural experience of the late 1960's. Some of these groups are almost never currently discussed and have almost become extinct in the annals of American history. Many of the characters are unlikable and unsavory. 

The two old timers (Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte) examine the way things were and what aging was like in the late sixties.

The kitchen staff (Freddy Rodriquez, Lawrence Fishburne, Christian Slater, and Jacob Vargas) carefully shows us the relationship between races and systemic racism.

A housewife (Helen Hunt) and her husband (Martin Sheen) question the militant consumerism and image conscious nuclear family of the 50's and 60's.

Bobby Kennedy's staff (Nick Cannon and Joshua Jackson) were put in the movie as our window into the social political situation in America at the time. Nick Cannon's character, Dwayne, gives us insight to the feelings of politically active African-Americans right after the death of Martin Luther King. He is also probably the one character who shows us the true dismay of minorities during this time of interracial struggle. He says, "Now that Dr. King is gone, no one left but Bobby - no one." He gives an even and believable performance. At the end of the movie, you believe that he is the most directly affected by the death of Bobby.

The hotel manager (William H. Macy), his wife (Sharon Stone), and mistress (Heather Graham), show us how easy it is to be enlightened when it doesn't affect what's happening in your own home. Macy's character, Paul Ebbers, the hotel manager, runs his hotel with sensitivity towards how different races are treated in his hotel, but he treats his wife like she is his property. The fight for equal rights for women and for races was separately fought battles, even at home.

A drunken musician (Demi Moore) and her husband (Emilio Estevez) show the changing domestic roles that confused men and women.

A new bride (Lindsay Lohan) and groom (Elijah Wood), marry to protect the groom from being sent to the front lines. Their lives, like the lives of so many their age, were completely defined by the war. Lohan's performance was surprisingly subtle but Elijah's performance felt a little forced.

The stoners (Ashton Kutcher, Shia LaBouf and Brian Geraghty) shine light on the culture of drug use at the time. LaBouf and Geraghty provide the comic relief throughout the movie, with hysterical tripping scenes. Ashton Kutcher plays Ashton Kutcher.

Each of these stories runs almost independently of each other, except they are all set in the same place and they all exemplify the social adolescence of the country in the late 60's. The stories of these people are painfully intertwined even if they don't know each other.

A painful ending, even though you know what is going to happen. Estevez does a great job of making the scene emotional, and disheartening. The end of the movie reveals how the characters are connected and the importance of hope. History tells us what happens afterward when there is no hope.

The movie is not a docudrama. If you are expecting a minute-by-minute account of the day he was killed, you will be disappointed by the movie. The characters are not historically accurate, so if you want to know about the Bobby Kennedy assassination, this is not the movie for you.

The cast is huge and packed with stars, which is distracting at first. In the end though, I can see why so many great actors wanted to be in this movie.

Don't let the huge names outshine the fresh faces. Shia LaBouf and Freddy Rodriquez give excellent performances in this film.

This movie is insightful, disheartening and the acting stirring. If you want to see a movie all about Bobby Kennedy don't see Bobby. If you want to see a movie about the late 60's that will make you think, see Bobby.

"Bobby" opens November 23, 2006 and is rated . . Written by Emilio Estevez.



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