Emilio Estevez's Bobby Remembers Him Admirably
by Alex Billington
November 22, 2006
Bobby is a film by Emilio Estevez that focuses on an amazing number of stories all set at the Ambassador Hotel the day Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Not only is it incredibly important, as Kennedy's wisdom is timeless and has an especially poignant impact on today's politics, but it's one of the most powerful films of the year, even above Death of a President, Babel, or Flags of Our Fathers. Bobby is a stunning film that celebrates the life of Robert F. Kennedy while also involving the lives of 22 other people at the hotel.
Author's Note: Some early reviews of Bobby have criticized the acting and script, but that is all overshadowed by just how powerful the film is. I enjoyed the performances, I enjoyed the characters, and above all, I was immensely affected by what it portrayed in connection to Kennedy. It does have a few moments that aren't the greatest performances and where the lines aren't that great, but that doesn't mean that the film on a whole can't be looked at as something much more incredible. This achievement alone and listening (for some, again) to the speech Kennedy delivers at the end makes Bobby definitely worth seeing.
As Robert F. Kennedy finished traveling across the United States in June of 1968, 22 individuals' lives would change forever. Bobby tells the brief story in one day's time of these people from the General Manager of the Ambassador Hotel (William H. Macy) and his wife (Sharon Stone), to the chefs and kitchen staff (Laurence Fishburne, Freddy RodrÃguez), the resident singer Virginia Fallon (Demi Moore) who performs nightly and her husband (Emilio Estevez), the long-time doorman (Anthony Hopkins), Kennedy's campaign coordinator (Joshua Jackson) and troublemaking volunteers (Shia LaBeouf and Brian Geraghty), and even a foreign reporter (Svetlana Metkina) looking for an interview with Kennedy. Although Estevez has a tendency to focus on a few of the stories much less than others, each one is approached with the same amount of passion from both the actors and the filmmakers.
When you go to funerals and they say to remember someone's life for the happier moments and the people they touched - this film does just that. It is a true triumph in remembering Bobby Kennedy's life in such a heartwarming way with so many great characters. It captures well many personalities and trends of the day, including one touch on the "Youth of America on LSD." You remember someone's life for who he was and what he said, not how he died, and although Bobby is about his unfortunate assassination, it is remembering him through those moments and the lives he touched. Often interspersed with real footage of Bobby's interviews and his travels across America leading up to his arrival at his hotel, it evokes a strong close connection with a very emotionally captivating character.
Instead of getting an actor with a likeness of Kennedy to portray him, Estevez has decided to leave it authentic. Real footage of his address at the hotel and other scenes were intermixed with shots of the crowd full of all of these characters - no actual filmed facial shots of an actor portraying Kennedy were shown beyond the real footage. Unfortunately this decision took away from the otherwise involving story that was filmed with the actors. The quality of filming at the time was far from what it is today, and that obvious difference is found in these scenes where Estevez tries to connect today's footage with Bobby's real appearances. To some, this will help with the authenticity, as no one can replace Bobby, but to others, this will detract from the experience.
Bobby does have one of the most incredibly powerful and emotionally saddening scenes in any movie this entire year. One of Robert Kennedy's most amazing speeches is overlaid on top of the ending scenes after he's been shot and the mass confusion and panic that ensues at the hotel. The power and construction of this scene undoubtedly makes every previous moment throughout worth it, no matter how much everyone may say poor writing or poor acting otherwise destroyed it. Why can't the critics out there just appreciate and enjoy something like this? Why must they have to attack it and critically demean a movie that at the least has an ending no other movie this entire year will be able to match?
Bobby has everything: great comedy, moving emotional moments, a handful of talented actors, heartwarming stories and messages throughout, and best of all, the timeless wisdom of Robert F. Kennedy. Even today, Bobby, and the speech from Kennedy, depicts a strong emphasis on violence and only the destruction it brings upon this world. When a film can capture this amount of emotion, and tell wonderful stories with a fantastic and varied cast, it is certainly a masterpiece.
Reader Feedback - 10 Comments
Robert F. Kennedy was and still is my hero. My father drove me to St. Patrick's Cathedral at 2:00 a. m. to wait for the mass on the first day of his wake. My photo is on the front page of the DAILY NEWS the next day. I loved the movie; more than anything else it captured the essence of who RFK was and the postive emotions of the American people at that time. The movie should not be criticized because Emilio was only trying to depict what the culture was like at that time which resembled no other. God bless. Michele J. Valentino United Airlines Flight Attendant
Name (Michele J. Valentino) on Dec 12, 2006
I agree with the Valentino's review. I left the movie speechless. I just couldn't talk because I left the film so moved with Robert Kennedy's heart, mind and soul; with his mindset that we so desperately need in this scary, scary time in American history, indeed global history; and how much I hope Estevez's film makes a difference. Perhaps school systems will use it to educate students. My husband and I remarked that it would be wonderful if all the members of the US House and Senate were required to watch "Bobby." And though I left speechless with a kind of grief that's pretty inexplicable at first glance, but not second, it also left me hopeful and inspired because we CAN carry on and create change.The next weekend my husband and I went to hear Barack Obama. I wanted to yell out "Please run for the Presidency" and was waiting for an opportune moment. But I didn't...but it's clear I'm not the only one thinking like that.Season's greetings to all--the film, among its layers, was one hell of a present full of inspiration. By the way, at what occasion did Robert Kennedy make the speech heard at the end of the film? I want a copy. Cathleen Coburn
Cathleen Coburn on Dec 20, 2006
Bobby seems to have stirred something special for many people who have seen it. Yet the AP critics did not give it a great rating so some viewers did not go to it and it seems to have faded fast. This is an amazing movie for many reasons -- like this reviewer and those who commented have metnioned - story, history, passion, music. It is not only a story of a moment in time but of the hope that Bobby sparked then. And maybe, just maybe, a hope we will see rekindled again. I definitley think this is one of the best movies of the year!
Maryann on Jan 19, 2007
Hello! My dad is looking for a mailing address, email, phone number, etc. for Martin Sheen or Emilio Estevez' production company. His name is Don J. Martinez II, you can contact him @ 702-334-2051, or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time. Martina Macias
Martina Macias on Jan 28, 2007
Mr. Estevez, thank you for BOBBY!
Helen Waddle on Apr 14, 2007
I was not that familiar with the details of Robert Kennedy's life or death until seeing this movie, as I wasn't borm until much later. Watching this movie you get a sense of the dispair that his supportors felt when he died, and realize the dreams that died with him. I can't imagine believing so much in a candidate as no one since has come even close to Robert Kennedy. I applaud Emilio for the research and the great lengths he went to in doing this movie, as it has definitely affected me personally. I am of the generation, that although we vote, more often we're voting for the lesser of the two evils. I have never felt whole heartedly that I could stand behind any candidate because more often than not politics get in the way of working for the people who need representation, like the poor and marginalized. It's easier to get big business and those with the power behind you than it is to take care of those who cannot give kick-backs. And so candidates campaign, votes are caste, and oaths are taken with no real change ever happening. As I watched Bobby I identified with some of the characters in the film, who were against a war and unhappy with politicians. Is there another Bobby? As the credits began to role and the choir sang "Never gonna shake my Faith", I felt a glimer of that hope and realized that hope did not die with one man, but will live on in those of us who do not see color or religion. By those of us who will dare to see the marginalized and live our lives with that same character and spirit that Bobby reminded us is alive in all of us. Thank you Emilio for making this film.
Angela Krueger on Apr 16, 2007
I just have to thank this man for making this movie not only did he show what a great mind and man bobby was but also so much is related to today and what we are living in now exept we have a war president of the united states so much the oppersite of what could have been, thankyou emilo for having the guts to make a movie that so many will critizize due to their complete ignorence
l on Apr 26, 2007
Alex, I know I'm a little late for this party, but I wanted to thank you for posting this contemplative review. I saw Bobby over a year ago and it has been tattooed in my psyche ever since. As the final scenes played out and his voice carried those poignant words into my thoughts, I practically melted into my seat with a mixture of grief, gratitude and questing. The grief I felt had less to do with the loss of one man and his vision than with the abrupt severing of the conversations he had inspired. That is the amazing gift Estevez created with this film. He brought us into those conversations and for that I'm so grateful. Since that day in the theater, I've often found myself wondering what kind of world I would have experienced if that dialogue had persisted in place of the despair and cynicism that followed. No reason we can't stir it back into full swing now. That's the quest.
Laurie Perez on Jan 1, 2008
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