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"Time was never a friend to Bobby Long. It would conspire against him, allowing him to believe in a generous nature and then rob him blind everytime. We'd lost Lorraine. All of us. But long before she died."
Purslane Hominy Will (Scarlett Johansson) is a young high school dropout living in trailer park trash in Florida with a low class boyfriend Lee (Clayne Crawford) when she learns of her mother Lorraine's death in New Orleans. Though she hasn't seen or heard from her obese, druggie, songwriter mother in years, she wants to attend her funeral and strikes out for New Orleans.
Arriving on the doorstep of her mother's rundown, rotting house, she discovers Bobby Long (John Travolta), an unkempt drunk who once was an English professor in a college in Alabama but fell into oblivion and alcohol when he lost his wife and family. He is living in filth with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht) who, as Bobby's teaching assistant whom Bobby has deemed gifted, has followed Bobby to write Bobby's biography - a work in progress that has stalemated in favor of alcoholism and disillusionment. Pursey hears that Booby and Lawson were Lorraine's closest friends, and that Lorraine had willed her home to the three of them.
Pursey moves in reluctantly - she has nowhere else to go - and immediately is at odds with her “roommates”. Likewise Bobby and Lawson resist Pursey's presence and insist she 'get a life' by returning to high school, making use of her obvious intellect. The verbal sparing that eventually leads the three to find a sense of family lays the foundation for the predictable conclusion.
At the beginning you don't think you'll get too much involved with the characters. They all appear to be selfish individuals lost in their own needs and emotions. But soon you notice they have much to share, with each other and with the spectator. It's a subtle and delicate story with some surprises.
The film is a bitter tale of love, friendship and synergy of invisible people. With many citations of important writers, the dramatic story has excellent lines and is very positive, with good messages and a well resolved conclusion. The irregular John Travolta and always perfect Scarlett Johansson are splendid in the role of broken, suffered and hopeless characters, and the story is never corny. Rounded out with a charming supporting cast and a beautiful sense of New Orleans almost as a character itself, "A Love Song For Bobby Long" is about as close to perfect as movies can be. 9/10


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