Bobby (2006)
Bobby (2006)

Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 57 min.

Release Date: November 23rd, 2006 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Emilio Estevez Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Helen Hunt, Ashton Kutcher, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Elijah Wood

 


 

T

o perfectly recreate a time, a place, or an event is what many films try earnestly to accomplish but can’t quite achieve. “Bobby” not only succeeds in capturing all three, but also does so with heartfelt emotion and possibly the most impressive ensemble cast of the last decade. Whether or not Robert Kennedy was the savior the film portrays him to be, the influence he had on so many lives becomes undeniably apparent through writer/director Emilio Estevez’ tremendous cinematic presentation.

22 different people’s lives connect around each other, the Ambassador Hotel, and the tragic events in June of 1968. Heather Graham and Joy Bryant are switchboard operators; Anthony Hopkins is a retired doorman; William H. Macy manages the hotel; Christian Slater looks after the staff; Freddy Rodriguez and Lawrence Fishburne are cooks and servers; Sharon Stone is a hairdresser; Nick Cannon and Joshua Jackson are campaign managers for the future president; and Ashton Kutcher is merely an enlightened guest at the property. But no matter their position, class, or ethnicity, they are all affected in some way by Robert Kennedy’s presence, his crusade, and the idealism he signified.

To say that “Bobby” has an amazing cast would be quite an understatement. From veteran actors like Harry Belafonte and Martin Sheen to popular newcomers Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan, every scene is bursting with recognizable talent. Inexplicably, it pays off to have so many notable players, as no performance is wasted. Hopkins is spectacular as the aging doorman reflecting on the past, while Macy, Slater, Graham, Fishburne, and Stone all provide exceptional turns as members of the varying echelons in the hotel industry. In that fateful locale, some people dream of success, some find inspiration in acid-induced hallucinations, others are youthful lovers seeking a way out of war or older couples hoping to escape the monotony of their lives, while still others yearn for equality. But all rely on the hope that Kennedy brings with him in his quest for the presidency. While Bobby himself is probably the least developed character (viewers only see him from snippets of stock footage at campaign events), the focus is never really on him as a person, but on what he meant and symbolized to thousands of Americans during the trying period of his run.

Within the dozen or so interconnected stories, almost every cultural and political viewpoint of the era is represented, from sex and drugs to civil rights and antiwar sentiments. “Bobby” is much less a biopic and much more an epic of motivations and perspectives and changing times. It captures a historical moment and focuses on the impact of a man rather than the man himself. Audiences aren’t likely to leave the theater knowing much more about RFK, but they’ll certainly begin to grasp the consequence and power his campaign and his message had on so many Americans.

– Joel Massie

  • 8/10