A Love Song for Bobby Long


Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 31
  2. Negative: 6 out of 31

Critic Reviews

  1. Captivating drama delivers literary flair and Louisiana music and great roles for a grizzled John Travolta and lovely Scarlett Johansson.
  2. 80
    Johansson is a stunningly charismatic actress. She gives Travolta a serious run for his money.
  3. Among other things, the characters in A Love Song for Bobby Long really know how to turn a phrase, in itself a pleasure so rare it all but demands any flaws be forgiven.
  4. Bobby Long can enchant you. It's a film that feels lived in, confident despite its conventions.
  5. 75
    The acting by Scarlett Johansson is so raw and sincere that the film leaves an impact despite its deficiencies.
  6. 75
    The movie tries for tragedy and reaches only pathos, but then Bobby lost his chance to be a tragic hero by living this long in the first place.
  7. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    A pedigree cast elevates old-fashioned material and lackluster screenwriting.
  8. The sole asset of "Bobby Long" is Johansson. Blossoming before our very eyes, she gives Pursy the combination of hope and determination that makes her journey worthwhile.
  9. An accomplished feature debut with stunning cinematography (by Elliot Davis), a jambalaya story line and yet another heart-stopping performance by Scarlett Johansson.
  10. It never jells. Primarily, it can't rise above two major weaknesses: a plangent, plaintive script and the inadequacies of John Travolta.
  11. This is mainly the girl's story, though the numerous southern archetypes out of Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers (who's explicitly referenced) keep threatening to overwhelm her.
  12. Travolta has dusted off his folksy Southern character from "Primary Colors" (one of his most acclaimed roles) and he has his moments with it.
  13. John Travolta finds no artistic breathing-room in A Love Song for Bobby Long.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Even in the junky potboilers that John Travolta has persisted in making since his "Pulp Fiction" comeback (all 5,000 of them), you usually get the sense that he's acting in his bailiwick.
  15. 50
    Not terrible for a movie featuring John Travolta as a literature professor, but not too good either.
  16. This smooth concoction goes down with a pleasant tingle and leaves behind a warm glow.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    One of those slow-baked Southern character studies about taking an old flat tire of a man and finding some way to love him anyway.
  18. 50
    It's the stunning location photography of camera ace Elliot Davis that provides what the movie itself lacks: authenticity.
  19. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's real star is the cinematographer, Elliot Davis -- his images carry more emotional freight than all the performances put together.
  20. It's engaging and transparent at once.
  21. 50
    Johansson is magnetic enough to make this batch of Southern-fried corn almost digestible.
  22. A poky dawdle of a Southern-style indie that would pass without notice but for John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson.
  23. 42
    The result is an exercise in emoting that features one of the worst Southern accents in recent memory and does about as much to establish the actor's range as "Battlefield Earth."
  24. The hokey solemnity of A Love Song for Bobby Long suggests "The Mundane Secrets of the Ya-Ya Brotherhood" or "The Notebook Goes to the Big Easy." The movie is another example of Hollywood's going soft and squishy when it goes South.
  25. 38
    Macht is the best thing in A Love Song for Bobby Long, but his intelligent performance doesn't justify a tough, and very long, sit.
  26. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Works hard to give quirk a bad name.
  27. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    At least Macht emerges relatively unscathed from the mess, content to brood and mutter self-loathing observations while Johansson and (most painfully) Travolta spoon their Southern accents out of a jar and spread it all over the humid scenery.
  28. Maybe they should have called A Love Song for Bobby Long something more appropriately descriptive, such as "When Actors Imitating Southern Characters Go Bad."
  29. 30
    Traffics in nearly every trite cliche of the "colorful" South one can think of, from its pseudo-Gothic aesthetic to its overripe dialogue.
  30. 10
    No movie that opens with the line "Time was never a friend to Bobby Long" could possibly be any good, and sure enough, A Love Song For Bobby Long lives down to its squibbed kickoff.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. RoseN.
    Dec 12, 2009
    Being from the South, the accents are actually pretty close. This film has been in my collection since he came out on DVD. A lost film about Being from the South, the accents are actually pretty close. This film has been in my collection since he came out on DVD. A lost film about real character, not larger than life outrageous story-lines. Scarlett Johannsen and Gabriel Macht give the best performances in the most. Scarlett as a tough yet still young, impressionable teenage girl who is well beyond her years. Macht as a broken hopeless romantic who has some honor and a lot of guilt. The true beauty in this movie was the well-spoken real life conversation and the enchanting music. I give this movie a 10 because I have watched it at least 30 to 40 times and I fall in love with it all over again every time. Low-budget, but brilliant in its simplicity. Full Review »
  2. NickN
    Jul 19, 2008
    Brilliant adaptation of Ronald Everett Capps "Off Magazine Street." This may not be for everyone, but this is one of the films I can't Brilliant adaptation of Ronald Everett Capps "Off Magazine Street." This may not be for everyone, but this is one of the films I can't resist each time I see it playing on TV. Full Review »
  3. LaurenceC.
    Sep 23, 2006
    My wife and I just caught up with it on cable and we loved it. Scarlett was magnicient. Travolta was good and Macht was terrific. Also Debbie Unger.