Sadly, many people of this generation do not know much about Robert “Bobby” F. Kennedy or the great things he achieved and tried to achieve in his short life. Unfortunately, the film “Bobby” will not enlighten any who sees it.
“Bobby” was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and has a large and famous ensemble cast that includes such notables as Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Sharon Stone, Heather Graham, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt, Harry Belafonte, Martin Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Joshua Jackson, Elijah Wood, Estevez and numerous others.
With such a hard-hitting cast and names that can fill up theater seats, Estevez let a perfect opportunity to tell a tale about an important figure in American history slip by.
In the film, people learn more about the history of L.A. Dodgers’ pitcher Don Drysdale and his sixth game in a row shutout than of Bobby.
Estevez could have told the tale of a New York senator who was trying to win the Democratic primaries for presidency. As Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, the younger Kennedy cracked down on organized crime.
He was a man who bridged the gap between minorities; helped fill the void of the disenchanted after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated; acted as the voice of those who had no voice in politics because they had not reached the voting age (which was 21 at that time) yet were being drafted (at age 18 men became eligible for the draft) to fight a war no one could win; most notably, he opposed the Vietnam War and wanted to bring the troops home.
Bobby Kennedy helped a nation stand up and say enough. He was a hero to teenagers and young adults; he was the voice of the little man.
He was a man who was shot down in cold blood (presumably by Sirhan Sirhan) in the early hours of June 5, 1968, shortly after winning the crucial votes necessary in California. He died the following day, and with his death came the death of the hopes and dreams’ of a tired nation.
Instead of telling that story, Estevez chose to tell several fictional stories about people who either just happened to be at the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, and went to the Democratic Convention, or who worked at the hotel or at the convention.
While the acting was decent it was nice to see Lohan as something more than a sex symbol with no IQ and the stories were moving, causing people to care about the fictional characters by the end of the film, they had nothing to with Bobby Kennedy.
Most were regarding marital/relationship problems; an 18-year-old girl (Lohan) agrees to marry her friend (Wood), who is also 18, so that he won’t be sent to Iraq when he’s drafted; a drunk lounge singer (Moore) and her husband (Estevez) have problems due to the former’s drinking problem; the Ambassador Hotel manager (Macy) and his beautician wife (Stone) deal with infidelity; and a rich man (Sheen) and his wife (Hunt) try and overcome their superficial fixation on money and possessions.
Then there is the ex-doorman (Hopkins) and his friend (Belafonte) who reminisce about the old days, two teenage Kennedy campaign workers who trip out on LSD for the first time, a Hippie drug dealer (Kutcher), a couple of telephone board operators (Graham), two higher-up Kennedy campaign workers (Jackson and Nick Cannon), and the Mexican/Black kitchen staff.
The only thing most of them had in common with Kennedy is that several of the fictional characters got shot by Sirhan Sirhan when people were wrestling the gun away from him.
The only redeeming part of this film was the actual footage of Kennedy, and hearing his inspirational speeches.
Going with extremely low expectations, and no desire to be educated, is key to not being disappointed in this overly frivolous film, but with a title like “Bobby,” it should have been anything but frivolous.
* out of 4 stars