Parents' Guide to

A Love Song for Bobby Long

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Not for kids, and not worth it for adults.

Movie R 2004 119 minutes
A Love Song for Bobby Long Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

Unapologetic love story

This film is fantastic. The cast is believable and genuine in their telling of the unfortunate, and even tragic life of title character, Bobby Long. The movie does contain a fairly hefty amount of foul language, smoking, alcohol consumption, and adult themes. However, it's not without purpose. The movie contains some explicit (but not pornographic) sexual dialogue and a very brief partial nude scene that shows nothing more than the female lead (Scarlett Johansson) in a bath towel. Nothing graphic or explicit. As stated, there is a lot of alcohol consumption, but not without consequences that are both discussed, and shown throughout the film. This is a funny movie at times as well. This is a movie for adults and mature young adults, not children. Everything that happens in this movie is for a purpose, to provide a realistic cinematic portrayal of a sad, yet beautiful story. I will mark "too much alcohol, smoking, and foul language." But let me again say that it's not to be flamboyantly vulgar or obscene like a horror movie or an 80s action movie. This movie has a lot of heart.

This title has:

Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 17+
This is a wonderful movie for the 18+ crowd who are not offended by language and adult situations. The story is beautiful and shows authentic relationships in a broken world. My older children and I have watched it together after they turn 18 and we all agree, it is a special movie BUT not for everyone. John Travolta should have won an Oscar for his role - I think it was his best ever!

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is one of those insufferable movies where three bundles of quirk and backstory intended to approximate characters are thrown together because of some writer's fantasy. The writer may hope that he can show them learning something from each other or meaning something to each other, but the real fantasy is that just putting it all on screen together will make it into something worth watching. It isn't. And by the way, the idea that by giving your characters quotations by great writers as dialogue will make them seem smart is a fantasy, too. And so is the idea that grandeloquence in Southern accents transforms trashy behavior and tired formulas into something grand and gothic. If you're going to Faulkner-ize squalor, you've got to write better than this.

This film is fundamentally misconceived. If it had a sense of humor about itself, it might have found some energy and spirit, but its inflated view of its own insights and its essential phoniness make it a long slog to the unsurprising surprise ending. Will she find a way to forgive her mother for abandoning her? Will she find resources in herself that she could never have imagined? Will she discover that those two men, though they drink too much) have deeply poetic souls and loving hearts? Will there be important revelations about Mom and ... Dad? You betcha. Will viewers care about any of it? Not so much.

Movie Details

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