Love Song for Bobby Long, A [2004]

A misfit drama in the grand Southern (by way of Hollywood) tradition, A Love Song for Bobby Long takes its cue from Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Re-establishing his indie-cred, John Travolta adds Bobby Long to his gallery of colorful characters. Hobbled by an infected toe, the 50-something Bobby is a white-haired, unshaven, vodka-soaked mess. But he's also a former English professor, and the piles of books in his ramshackle house, and the authors he drunkenly quotes give him a wounded dignity. Just how wounded will be revealed over the course of this atmospheric tale of redemption and penance. Bobby lives with Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht), his former teaching assistant who is writing a book about his mentor, a project deferred by drinking, sitting around with the locals, or engaging in quotation oneupsmanship. Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Ghost World) holds her own against Travolta ("You are such a shameless ham," she chastises the loquacious Bobby) as Pursy, the estranged daughter of Lorraine, a recently deceased singer-songwriter in whose house Bobby and Lawson reside. A battle of wills between the two men and the headstrong young girl gives way to the formation of a tentative family unit. Pursy agrees to return to high school if Bobby and Lawson quit drinking. There will be the expected revelations, recriminations, and dramatic confrontations, but what makes this Love Songresonate are the performances by a cast that rarely hits a false note. --Donald Liebenson

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Bobby Long:
Lawson is not in love with you.

Georgianna:
Bobby, I don't think thats any of your damn business.

Bobby Long:
I've seen him with a woman that he can't get enough of. A woman that's crawled into every molecule of his being. That consumed his every thought and turned him into a creature of devotion and obsession. I have the scars of that love on my face, have ya told her about that? Have you told her about the difference between true love and a warm bed to pass the time away?

Lawson Pines:
Oh cool it man. Don't go after her, I never said I was going anywhere.

Bobby Long:
I only speak the truth. The woman deserves to know the truth. And you, you're free to do as you please.

Lawson Pines:
Am I, really? Finally free huh?

Bobby Long:
I wanna say something on this occasion where I celebrate my love and frienships with one another. Friend, my enemy, I call you out. You, you, you there with a bad thorn in your side. You there, my friend, with a winning air. Who pawned the lie on me when he looked brassly at my shyest secret. With my whole heart under your hammer. That though I loved him for his faults as much as for his good. My friend were an enemy upon stilts with his head in a cunning cloud.

Lawson Pines:
Bravo, man. Now why dont you come out and fucking say what you really mean. Does every word out of your mouth have to be in character? Or is that the idea? Just to be anyone but who you really are. You want to tell me that your disappointed in me? Cause maybe im disappointed in you. You know I never asked to write your damn book. Your redemption and my penance, right? Havent I paid? Nine fucking years. I'm sorry. I am sorry all right. I am so fucking sorry.

Bobby Long:
It's Dylan Thomas. That's an easy one.

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