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Love Song for Bobby Long

A Love Song for Bobby Long

4.8 6
Director: Shainee Gabel

Cast: John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht


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Bobby Long (John Travolta) is a washed up former literature professor with a voracious drinking habit. He lives in a rundown house in New Orleans with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht of The Recruit), his former star pupil, also an alcoholic. Lawson is allegedly writing a novel about Bobby. Their depressive little corner of the world is disrupted when Lorraine, the


Bobby Long (John Travolta) is a washed up former literature professor with a voracious drinking habit. He lives in a rundown house in New Orleans with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht of The Recruit), his former star pupil, also an alcoholic. Lawson is allegedly writing a novel about Bobby. Their depressive little corner of the world is disrupted when Lorraine, the beloved eccentric singer who owns their house, dies. Her teenage daughter, Pursy (Scarlett Johansson), who hasn't seen her mother in years, arrives in town too late for the funeral, and crashes at the house. Afraid of being thrown out on the street, Bobby convinces Lawson to tell Pursy that the house has been left to all three of them. Pursy, having little else to do, decides to move in, and starts cleaning up the place, making it her own. Lawson is involved with Georgianna (Deborah Kara Unger), who works at the local bar, but he quickly develops a crush on the comely Pursy. The cantankerous Bobby seems determined to drive the girl away. As Pursy settles into the diverse little community, all of Lorraine's old friends tell her how much she looks like her mother, and she begins to uncover some startling truths about her family history. A Love Song for Bobby Long is based on the novel Off Magazine Street, by Ronald Everett Capps. It was adapted for the screen and directed by Shainee Gabel, who co-directed the documentary Anthem.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Adapting a novel for the screen is a tricky process, and unfortunately it's clearly one that neophyte writer/director Shainee Gabel has not mastered. Early on in A Love Song for Bobby Long, the overly literary voice-over ramblings of Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht) ("New Orleans is a siren of a city") begin to grate. Later in the film, someone asks Bobby Long (John Travolta), "Does every word outta your mouth have to be in character?" Bobby is a larger-than-life character who may have been fascinating on the page, but onscreen (embodied by Travolta), he and his story strain credulity. Appropriately bloated in this case but still over-the-top, Travolta can't muster the subtlety or grace to transcend the clichéd characterization of this cantankerous fallen Southern intellectual. On the positive side, Gabel does capture a certain gritty local flavor in her New Orleans locations. Macht is an appealing presence, and Scarlett Johansson brings a recognizably human soul to her portrait of Pursy. The actress has enough grit beneath that impossibly beautiful surface to make us believe that Pursy has had a difficult life and is more than a little bit lost. But the film itself is lost in translation. Full of grandiose literary references and tragic tall tales that are never dramatized, the story, despite an obvious red herring, makes its way to a predictable conclusion. Worse yet, it grows increasingly maudlin along the way, exemplified by one final, dreadful pan.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with director & cinematographer; Deleted scenes; Behind the scenes of A Love Song for Bobby Long

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Travolta Bobby Long
Scarlett Johansson Pursy Will
Gabriel Macht Lawson Pines
Deborah Kara Unger Georgianna
Dane Rhodes Cecil
David Jensen Junior
Clayne Crawford Lee
Sonny Shroyer Earl
Walter Breaux Ray
Carol Sutton Ruthie
Warren Blosjo Sean
Gina "Ginger" Bernal Waitress
Douglas M. Griffin Man #1
Earl Maddox Man #2
Steven Maye Man #3
Don Brady Old Man
William H. Barnett Old Man #2
Patrick McCullough Streetcar Boy
Leanne Cochran Streetcar Girl
Nick Loren Merchant
Brooke Mueller Sandy
Bernard "Bunchy" Johnson Tiny

Technical Credits
Shainee Gabel Director,Screenwriter
Jim Black Musical Direction/Supervision
William Paul Clark Asst. Director
Kathleen Cusack Sound/Sound Designer
Elliot Davis Cinematographer
Sig De Miguel Casting
Anson Downes Associate Producer
Randall Emmett Executive Producer
Linda Rae Favila Associate Producer
Lisa Fruchtman Editor
George Furla Executive Producer
Jamie Gordon Co-producer
Melanie Johansson Co-producer
Brad Krevoy Executive Producer
David Lancaster Producer
Nathan Larson Score Composer
Sharon Lomofsky Production Designer
Amanda Mackey-Johnson Casting
R. Paul Miller Producer
Paul Miller Producer
Jill M. Ohanneson Costumes/Costume Designer
Lee Percy Editor
Adele Plauche Art Director
Cathy Sandrich Casting
Wendy Weidman Casting
Bob Yari Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [4:20]
2. Lorraine Is Dead [3:19]
3. A Third of the House [6:02]
4. So Much Like Lorraine [2:56]
5. The Door of Her Heart [4:56]
6. The Wonderfully Elusive Something [7:23]
7. Productive Pursy [4:24]
8. The Senior Male [3:46]
9. Like Portraits on the Inside [3:39]
10. Duo [3:40]
11. Here for a Reason [5:16]
12. Learning What Matters [2:43]
13. "Take Away the Bottle..." [3:27]
14. Short Days [2:52]
15. Manufactured Memories [6:03]
16. Always in Character [5:20]
17. Plumbing Problem [2:15]
18. Cold Night, Dark Road [7:04]
19. Christmas [3:06]
20. Tests for Bobby [2:19]
21. Dating Again [4:56]
22. Jealous [1:49]
23. Sole Owner [4:56]
24. Go Away Forever [2:59]
25. Hidden in Letters [4:26]
26. "Would You Tell Me About Her?" [4:47]
27. Graduation [4:52]
28. Bobby's Romance [6:33]


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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cant believe i didnt know about this movie when it came out, i loved it! everyone should watch this movie! Great!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh my God, this is a movie of great performances by one & all. What a story & perfect casting. I'm surprised that Travolta & Johannson were not nominated for Academy Awards. Don't miss this movie, I bought it out of the discount bin but would have paid much more for it. Very sweet, very haunting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first saw this on IFC and was drawn into the characters and plot. After that first time, everytime it's on I have to watch it. It's one of those movies that if I'm flipping through channels and it's on I get drawn into it and for some reason can't stop watching. I love John Travolta's performance and never knew who Scarlett Johansson was until I saw this. I like the dialog and they talk about the book The Heart is a Lonely Hunter which is one of my favorites. Overall, I would say it's an entertaining, good movie that I would definitely recommend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie, it's like a modern day tennesse williams play! as a displaced new orleanian, it made me homesick.Scarlett is going to be the next big star, and i believe it is travolta's best ever
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have ever wondered how other people live this is an eye opening heartbreaker. These are about some of the invisable people who live in the run down houses you pass by on Americas rivers and the seemingly homeless alcoholics camped together in groups and have passed by on the streets judging them. This movie takes a deep look into the many different ways a life can become broken. You will feel a empathy and fondness for them you could have never imagined. It goes to show how anyones life can turn on a dime. I came to feel I know them and I miss them already. I think this could be the best Travolta movie yet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gave "Love Song for Bobby Long" 4 stars for the ambience portrayed and for the music. Using actors from the South, instead of from New York or New Jersey, would have earned it 5 stars. No disrespect is intended toward the lead actors, who are some of my favorites anyway, and who all gave great performances, though I've seen them perform much better other films. Still, having been to New Orleans, and as a resident of Louisiana, I recognize the flavor. I could almost feel the humidity, smell the rain, and taste the crawfish and beer. Some might feel the Louisiana scenes were cliche, but cliches are often based in reality. The filmography was so true to life. I once walked from the Audubon Zoo to Magazine Street (this film is based on the book "Off Magazine Street" ). I've sat on a bench near the Mississippi and watched the barges go by. The romantic tension between Pursy (Scarlett Johansson) and Lawson (Gabriel Macht, just watching him will make your mouth water) was palpable but tender. Some questions about Bobby Love were unanswered for me and left me craving more. However, I really enjoyed the lyrical rhythm of John Travolta's portrayal of Bobby (including his actual singing). As an avid reader I was thrilled that they romanticized reading books. I'm looking forward to reading the book the movie is based on and the book, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", by Carson McCullers, which is portrayed in the movie. This story was delightfully touching, giving us hope that even broken people are redeemable and lovable, and that family, however nontraditional, has great value. I truly enjoyed it and look forward to seeing it again. So Sugar, I recommend you fix yo'self a tall glass a icy cold sweet tea or grab a cold beer from the icebox. Slip into somethin' cool, turn on the fan and rest yo'self, keepin' a few tissues someplace handy when you watch this one. The soundtrack is very likely to be a great purchase as well, that will help you sustain the warm savory flavor long after the movie is over.