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 »
Lee comes to visit Pursey, enters the house, sits down, props his feet on the coffee table and helps herself to a cigarette from the pack on the table. There is a very short break to a shot of Pursey and back again to Lee who now has a lit cigarette in his left hand. It was not possible for him to light the cigarette in the short time the camera was on Pursey. See more »
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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