“Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, ‘Bobby’ revisits the night presidential-hopeful Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. As the lives of those who were present dramatically intersect, Bobby shows how the gunshots that rang out that night forever changed the course of American history.”
“Bobby” is rated R for language, drug content, and a scene of violence.
Estevez takes a unique approach to the story of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by highlighting the people in the hotel in the hours leading up to it. You meet the cooks, the managers, the guests, and more. Bobby himself is almost an afterthought and is actually only seen in archival footage. So if you think you’ll be able to walk away with greater insight into the historical events or Kennedy himself, you’ll be really disappointed. To take that a step further, all of the characters in this movie are fictional. The ones shot along with Kennedy at the end aren’t the real people that were wounded. That really takes away from the feeling of realism of the story.
“Bobby” also tends to be a bit melodramatic and pompous at times. The film makes it sound like Robert F. Kennedy was the second coming of Christ. Estevez makes it seem like Kennedy would have solved all of the world’s problems if he hadn’t been killed. It’s a nice thought but it tends to ignore reality. And when he is killed in the film, all the characters start sobbing and acting shocked. This is a little hard to buy since we don’t really see why any of them have a relationship with Kennedy. Their emotion comes across more as a drama school exercise than a genuine sense of loss.
Estevez also makes some strange choices with the story. While most of the characters have direct ties to the assassination, others have no connection to it whatsoever. A side story with Demi Moore as a singer and Estevez as her husband could be completely dropped from the film and have no effect on the story at all. The same goes for a story with Anthony Hopkins as a doorman (or whatever his job is). Another bizarre side story with Ashton Kutcher and Shia LaBeouf seems really out of place. It shows the young men doing acid and hallucinating. It comes across as a weak attempt at using drug humor as comic relief.
Overall, “Bobby” is more successful as a parade of stars than as any sort of retelling of the death of Robert F. Kennedy. View at your own risk.
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