A Love Song for Bobby Long

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
A Love Song for Bobby Long Movie Poster Image
Not for kids, and not worth it for adults.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Tense confrontations.


Explicit sexual references.


Some very strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters abuse alcohol and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie isn't appropriate for kids. The movie has extremely strong language and explicit sexual references. Characters smoke and abuse alcohol.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRon L. March 27, 2018

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 d... Continue reading
Parent of a 10, 14, and 17-year-old Written byTieDyeGal May 30, 2010
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... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Pursy (Scarlett Johannson) finds out too late that her mother, Lorraine, has died. By the time she arrives, the funeral is over, and she stays at the house owned by her mother. The two men who rent the house, Bobby (John Travolta) and Lawson(Gabriel Macht), are afraid of losing hteir home. So they convince Pursy that Lorraine left the house to the three of them. So Pursy moves in.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what drew the characters to each other and the ways that people try to create families for themselves.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

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