A young Hungarian girl struggles to find her place in the world when she's reunited with her parents in the USA years after she was left behind during their flight from the communist country in the 1950s.
A young woman, Pursy (played by Scarlett Johansson), learns that her estranged mother has died in New Orleans. She returns to her mother's house to discover that it is inhabited by two men, one an aging alcoholic, Bobby Long (John Travolta). Written by
The production ran into budgetary problems halfway through. Several background extras were brought to a New Orleans location, fitted for costumes, fed dinner, and then sent home without pay because their scene had been cut. Some New Orleans retailers complained that thousands of dollars worth of clothes were returned unused because the scenes they were bought for were never filmed. See more »
Upon first meeting Pursy, Bobby is lying in bed and Lawson is seated next to him preparing Bobby's drink. While Lawson prepares his own drink, Pursy and Bobby exchange dialog. During this dialog Lawson fills his glass twice without drinking from it. See more »
Mother, go make my bed, / Make it long and narrow. / My true love died for me yesterday, / I shall die for him tomorrow. She was buried in a church house yard, / And he was buried there beside her. And from his grave grew roses red, / From hers grew green briar. They grew and they grew so very high, / Till they could grow no higher; And at the top grew a true lovers' knot, / Twined with green briar.
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If you like movies that are character driven, then this is one for you to watch.
I have never seen Scarlett Johanssen in anything before. I have to say she impressed me here with her performance as Pursalane Hominy Will (ain't that a mouthful of a name!). Travolta does a nice turn as the titular Bobby Long, a former English professor who has fallen into the depths of an alcohol induced fantasy life. Gabriel Macht also does a good job as Lawson Pines, Bobby Long's former teaching assistant who has accompanied Long into his descent out of a sense of loyalty and guilt.
Perhaps the most interesting character, to me, is the one you never see, Lorraine Will; a New Orleans diva and the mother of young Pursey. Lorraine's death from alcoholism is what brings our characters together, and much like Alex in The Big Chill, we never once see or hear from Lorraine (not even in voice-over when Pursey reads a letter never sent to her by Lorraine), but we experience her through the people in this movie. It is a brave choice for the director to make, as I believe others would opt for more direct exposition via flashback, voice-overs, etc.
In the end, while there is a certain formulaic approach to the story, the characters are done well enough that you enjoy the story anyway.
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