Bobby

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Bobby Movie Poster Image
Moving ensemble drama, but not an RFK biopic.
  • R
  • 2006
  • 120 minutes
Parents recommend

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

RFK is remembered as a moral beacon; fictionalized characters deal drugs, commit adultery, argue over race/class inequities, racism, and politics; references to political "dirty tricks" an assassin shoots and kills RFK.

Violence

Bobby Kennedy's assassination is re-enacted, with bloody results; other characters are also shot and collapse, gasping and bleed.

Sex

An adulterous liaison in a hotel room (embracing and kissing, then the door shuts); post-sex scene shows a man apologetic (presumably for his "performance") and a woman upset; brief, romantic sex scene between a young couple; characters (male and female) appear in their underwear; a young man appears naked during LSD trip (bottom visible).

Language

Several uses of "f--k" (15+), plus the n-word and other language ("s--t," "hell," "son of a bitch," "damn," "ass," "Steppin Fetchit motherf--er").

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of cigarette smoking and liquor drinking (several characters are drunk), also drug use (marijuana and LSD, which results in a "trip" represented in comic images of driving, flying, laughing).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this drama might spark some good conversations with older kids, it's probably not all that likely to interest them. A nostalgic recollection of 1968, its ensemble cast and "social problems" theme have earned it comparisons to Crash. It culminates in a distressing reenactment of Robert Kennedy's assassination, incorporating archival footage as well as graphic images of other shooting victims and the chaos caused by the event. A brief sex scene alludes to an adulterous affair; a second sex scene represents young, idealistic romance. Frequent smoking and drinking throughout the film, plus drug use (one character appears naked during an LSD trip). Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus the "N" word and discussion of racism against black and Latino communities.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykitode April 9, 2008

Very powerful movie - ok for younger with support

This movie is about Bobby Kennedy's assassination in 1968. If you read the comments on imdb, it's as though everyone had a different ending to the se... Continue reading
Adult Written bysfriel April 9, 2008
Teen, 15 years old Written bymia_14 April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written bykidreviewer April 9, 2008

A Great Movie!

This was a great movie! Although it was more about the other people in the hotel, there was some about Bobby Kennedy. I expected Kennedy to be the focus, but th... Continue reading

What's the story?

Despite its title, BOBBY isn't really about Bobby Kennedy (who appears in archival footage). Instead, it follows a loose group of characters staying at L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. Using Kennedy as a symbol for what might have been -- clips from his speeches emphasize his inspiration and vitality -- the movie lays out the problems he might have solved in the lives of its troubled characters as they deal with issues of race, marriage, infidelity, politics, the Vietnam War, and the era's enlightenment via psychedelic drugs. As in Crash, separate stories overlap and occasionally collide. The star-studded cast includes Laurence Fishburne, Christian Slater, William H. Macy, Sharon Stone, Heather Graham, Elijah Wood, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore), Emilio Estevez, Helen Hunt), Martin Sheen), Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belafonte, Shia LeBeouf, and Ashton Kutcher.

Is it any good?

Bobby looks back with sadness and frustration, drawing clear connections to current events (the war in Iraq, troubled elections, continuing racial tensions). But it also offers resilient, even stubborn hope. If only we could remember the promise of 1968, Bobby proposes, we might find ourselves again. As the stories overlap and characters occasionally collide, director Emilio Estevez's very sincere, liberal-leaning, and occasionally flat-footed movie remembers RFK with reverence, feeling nostalgia for a promise unfulfilled.

While the many storylines vary in effectiveness and predictability, the finale -- Kennedy's arrival the hotel and the violence that follows -- is undeniably moving (even if the use of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" is decidedly heavy-handed). As the crowd gathered in the ballroom sees all too plainly, hopes abruptly run up against disappointment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's premise -- that Bobby Kennedy represented a (lost) hope for change in the United States in 1968. Why did people think he was the answer to so many problems (such as Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement)? Is it fair to pin those kinds of expectations on any one person, even a possible president? How does the movie use archival TV images of RFK to draw parallels between his promises and the characters' activities? How does the inclusion of actual footage impact the viewer? What particular issues divide the characters, and how do they come together?

Movie details

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