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Parents' Guide to

Bob Roberts

By Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

A political horror story for teens and adults.

Movie R 1992 102 minutes
Bob Roberts Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

A Satirically, Seriously Political Film

Bob Roberts tells the story of a right-wing folk singer-turned senatorial candidate, and his entourage, during his run for office. Sort of a, "What would happen if a right-wing Bob Dylan ran for office during the Reagan Administration?" While there are some funny moments (other than the over arching satirical motif) mostly it is a serious mockumentary meant to enlighten and frighten us about our society and government. Common Sense has rated this the same as A Clockwork Orange and Fight Club. I have no idea why. I watched this at about 18 and have owned it for years. There is no sex and the violence, compared to Mission Impossible or many, many other action films like Transformers, consists of a Bobby Kennedy-like assassination-by-pistol in a crowd so no gun is actually seen. It is enlightening and, I suppose if taken seriously, might impart the wrong values or be interpreted as intellectually damaging. The only drinking that I can think of would be Gore Vidal sipping a whiskey at his desk or something like that. This is a great film for people interested in politics or society in the United States. I would think it would be boring to most kids but could provide great talking points concerning you and your family's values versus those on screen.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

As in Wag the Dog, the answer is a foregone conclusion; but unlike that other '90s-era political satire, Bob Roberts is as humorless as a heart attack. Robbins doesn't make any attempt to get viewers comfortable with Roberts, and, in fact, invites derision. "Bob Roberts is Nixon, but he's shrewder, more complicated," says a skeptical newscaster, one of many such heavy-handed speeches in the film. "Here's a man who adopted the persona and mindset of a free-thinking rebel and turned it on itself: The rebel conservative. That's deviant brilliance. What a Machiavellian master."

Like most dystopian tales (1984 and Brave New World come to mind), Bob Roberts carries its premise to the most extreme conclusion. So here, African American men lose their lives, and the public is tricked into electing Roberts without ever hearing how he would govern. We already know the answer when that same newscaster asks, "Are we to believe that what Bob Roberts wants to see in America is a compliant and silent public which respects the wishes and actions of its presidents no matter how immoral or illegal?"

Movie Details

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