A Love Song for Bobby Long



Not for kids, and not worth it for adults.
  • Review Date: April 15, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Tense confrontations.


Explicit sexual references.


Some very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters abuse alcohol and smoke.

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.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 29, 2004
DVD release date:April 19, 2005
Cast:Dane Rhodes, John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson
Director:Shainee Gabel
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language including some sexual references

This review of A Love Song for Bobby Long was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byjennbeau April 9, 2008


Was looking for a movie and came across this one it looked interesting, had good actors in it. I rented it---needless to say that is what I got---interesting....lol. I thought it was at least worth watching once.
Adult Written byTiner April 9, 2008

John Travolta was Terrific!

The language was awful, but the characters were awesome. I would not let my younger children watch this, but felt it was appropriate for my 18 year old. John Travolta did a fantastic job portraying his alcohol & foul language abusing character. The story is a sweet study on human nature and friendship.
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 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!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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