Emilio Estevez directs and stars in this account of the fallout from Robert F. Kennedy's assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. Story unfolds from the point of view of 22 characters present when the shots were fired.

Flicks Review

'Bobby' is written and directed by actor, sometimes director, Emilio Estevez - the strange named Sheen. Story follows a massive ensemble of 22 characters that all work at, or are present at, the Ambassador Hotel on the night Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy arrived and was shot (1968). Bobby, brother of J.F., had that night just won the Californian primary election and was on the way to becoming President. He was shot by a lunatic in the hotel kitchen.

It’s intended as a slice of 60s American life. There’s the young idealists who take acid for the first time, the racist manager, the wise hotel coot who’s seen the tides change, the Spanish kitchen hands, the black chef, the shallow husband, the saintly politician, the angry assassin, etcetera and whatnot. Collectively they are the 60s: a mix of innocence, revolution, aggression, hypocrisy, democracy, etcetera and whatnot. A people seemingly lost and confused.

Robert Kennedy is a rationale, compassionate politician. A leader who sees injustice, listens to the people, and if not providing solutions is asking for unity in finding them. And then by the very aggression & violence he detests, he is shot.

Estevez’s point, I think, is the great loss America suffered when Bobby died (indeed, one wonders what the world would be like if he had become President). Because of this Bobby is portrayed as an absolute saint, a savior gunned down before he could save. This portrayal might be debatable, I wouldn’t know. But regardless, the effect of it all is to prompt the question: ‘where’s a Bobby when you need one?’ It’s a passionate cry from Mr Emilio. And it’s a point worthy of making a film about.

Especially with the parallels with that time and our time, and especially with Bobby’s stark contrast to George “where I come from” Bush.

Why, when an actor directs, do they cast all their buddies? In this case Estevez has gone over board. The problem with too many famous faces is just that. It makes it hard to see anything but, and only a few here shine.

Roll call. Emilio himself (not bad, you’ve done well yourself). Laurence Fishburne (alright). Anthony Hopkins (same old, but good). Helen Hunt (rubbish, very poor). Ashton Kutcher (good). William H. Macy (alright, usually much better). Lindsay Lohan (very good). Demi Moore (very good). Martin Sheen (usually awesome, not so good here). Christian Slater (very very good). Sharon Stone (average). Heather Graham (no good). Joshua Jackson (meh). Shia LeBeouf (nice work). Elijah Wood (semi-good). And that’s only the famous people.

Some characters hold your interest, others don’t, making for an uneven film. 'Bobby's not that good a film really. It’s unforgivably on the nose and it’s discombobulated, but it does pack a punch by its end through the shear sincerity of the filmmaker’s plea.

[Reviewed by Ed.]

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 7 ratings, 6 reviews
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Really good, interesting film with good dialogue and a great cast. It's wonderful how all the stories and characters intertwine around this one event, and it all builds up towards a powerful and moving finale.

BY Brian1 superstar

He didnt ever win at chess, he didnt get to the ball game, he did have to go to Viet nam, and he didnt ever become president.
An interesting movie tracing the people who were at the Ambassador Hotel the night senator Bobby kennedy was shot.
Most will probably remember that night, and this movie is a reminder of of the events, it tells the behind the scenes story we wouldnt have known and reminds us how little has changed in40 years.
I thought the directing treatment was excellent, the acting... More ok, given the high power cast, but a should see movie.Hide

I was expecting the usual drivel that comes from B list actors turned Directors but was taken aback when I saw it.
Estevez actually did a great job with Bobby, in specific the effect I enjoyed the most was a brilliant insight on Estevez’s part, using reel footage from 1968 and integrating it into the movie, not just adding it in as filler for the story but making it another character in itself.
An example of which is using reel footage of one of the wounded and panning up from the leg of... More a wounded man onto the present day “Bobby” footage of the character in the same position, done seamlessly he really pulls it off.
Obviously Kennedy couldn’t be in the movie himself, but with the use of stock footage and a stand in, they managed to make it seem like he really was there.
A ridiculous amount of well known actors appear but in bit parts that seem to mainly act as packaging for a documentary that may not necessarily have gotten the attention it deserves without the celebrity draw cardHide

The thing about history is that it depends who is the narrator. The star of the show was in fact Bobby Kennedy himself, I was searching his face as he made his speeches, constantly, for some kind of dishonesty but could find no give away signs. He acted with believable sincerity and had an amazing charisma. It is a very busy movie with many well crafted cameo performances, against much irritating background noise. Personally I could have done with a few quieter moments to absorb the individual... More performances, like drop some of that piped music and general noise. The deep resonent voice of Anthony Hopkins certainly deserves a mention. All in all an interesting movie, showing the viewer some steriotypical characters surrounding a historical event and how it effected them.Hide

This film is a masterpiece. I laughed, I cried, I felt heart broken after the movie, but so glad that I had seen it. Definitely some oscar nominations to come for this one.

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The Press Reviews

46% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    Actor-turned-filmmaker Emilio Estevez pens a love letter to Robert F Kennedy, or more specifically, to an ideal image of the assassinated presidential candidate. Bobby presents a blinkered look at the man and what he meant to Americans in the turbulent 60s, but nobody can accuse Estevez of lacking sincerity... Full Review

  • Whether or not Bobby Kennedy was the man his supporters believed him to be, the film makes a persuasive case that something important in America was silenced when he was gunned down... Full Review

  • All in all, however, Estevez has pulled together the best political drama, fiction or otherwise, in recent memory... Full Review

  • Estevez means well. But having your heart in the right place is no excuse for insipid ineptitude... Full Review

  • If you're the slightest bit cynical, you could view Bobby as gathering its incredible star cast from the Estevez-Sheen Christmas card list – actors who want to align themselves with the left-wing activism that that acting dynasty is known for... But leaving the cynicism aside for a moment, writer-director Emilio Estevez has made a fairly decent film about the day of the death of Bobby Kennedy... Full Review

  • If you banish all thoughts of an Oliver Stone JFK epic and accept 'Bobby' for what it is - a cinematic character-driven take on that day in history - then I expect you'll enjoy it... Full Review

  • Emilio Estevez's Bobby is a passionate outcry for peace and justice in America that becomes deeply involving by the final climactic scene... Full Review