Bobby (2006)

If I was looking for a film that would fill up our tags, then Bobby was the one to do it. The superpower cast includes: Harry Belafonte, Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher, Helen Hunt, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Elijah Wood, Joy Bryant, and William H. Macy.

The plot focuses on the day at the hotel before the night that Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Most of this film takes place at the Ambassador Hotel, which was a landmark until it was torn down recently. Bobby attempts to portray the characters of all social levels, from the busboy on up to the owner of the hotel as their live proceed during the day. It also tries to show that their paths intertwine, and that these folks are all related somehow, kind of the "six degrees of separation" thing.

My criticism of this film is twofold. Firstly, I felt that at times,we were reinterpreting the "stormy sixties" of 1968 through our modern times. While I guess this is impossible to avoid, as we all interpret the world through filters, it still doesn't need to be so obvious as it was in Bobby. The other thing was that there was very little of RFK. He finally makes a cameo appearance at the film's end to declare victory in the California primary, and get shot exiting through the kitchen (not much of a spoiler there, I think we all knew how it would end). His other several appearances are all canned newsreel footage of RFK giving speeches that made me feel like I was watching some type of "Kennedy marathon," on the History Channel, and not a major motion picture with this much star power.

Strange as it might seem, the part of Bobby that I enjoyed the most was the setting. The props all looked quite accurate and authentic for 1968. It reminded me of the analog world of the late Sixties, and how the digital revolution would change the world over the next three decades.

The acting performances were all excellent, although with so many characters, I would have liked to know less of them better, and at times I felt that the film lost focus. At least a few of the characters lacked depth, and I wasn't really sure who they were, or what they were doing in the hotel that day.

In summary, if you're a Kennedy fan, than Bobby is probably a great film for you. If you're not, then despite its big name star power, its only average.

Overall Grade: B-


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