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Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Directed by
: Emilio Estevez
Starring: Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Freddy Rodriguez, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood
Released by: MGM and The Weinstein Company

In Short: Interweaving numerous stories into a compelling whole, Emilio Estevez turns the last day of Bobby Kennedy's life into a brilliantly realized film.

Remembrance of Things Past
Bobby Kennedy's Final Legacy Revisited

by Jenny Peters

Back on June 6, 1968, much of the Baby Boomer generation lost their youthful idealism with a single shot. Martin Luther King was already dead, but hope still lived in Sen. Robert Kennedy, who was well on his way to becoming the Democratic presidential nominee when he was gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. A terrible day, for sure.

With “Bobby,” Emilio Estevez's devastatingly wonderful look at the last day in the life of Sen. Kennedy, some of that idealism may be reawakened. With his fine take on that fateful moment in our country's history, Estevez (and who knew that the “Men at Work” creator had this in him?) reminds us that even though Bobby is gone, his ideas ring true forever.

Demi Moore in Bobby
Ensemble of Bobby

Estevez—who wrote, directed, and plays a small part in the film—tells the tale from the point of view of the assorted people (22, to be exact) who were at the hotel on that momentous day in American history, deftly intertwining their stories to the final terrible culmination that, for many viewers, will unleash a torrent of tears.

Estevez has assembled an amazing cast to play the real-life people (or at least characters based on real people) whose worlds were irrevocably shaken that night, from veterans like Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte (who play the long-time general manager of the hotel and his elderly friend) to fresh faces including Lindsay Lohan, Elijah Wood, Nick Cannon and Joy Bryant. Freddy Rodriguez’s performance as a Mexican busboy obsessed with Dodger baseball definitely deserves a nod at awards time.

Their various stories are intertwined with actual footage of Bobby Kennedy on the stump, as he campaigns during the Democratic presidential primary season and gives speeches that resonate completely with what is going on in America today. Estevez wisely chose not to use an actor to play Bobby—seeing and hearing the real person who was loved by so many is part of what makes the film so devastating and emotionally wrenching.

Sharon Stone and William H. Macy in Bobby
Lawrence Fishburne in Bobby

Ironically enough, this movie is not an inexorable, depressing slog toward death and the terrible moment we're all familiar with. Instead, it is filled with some shocking twists and surprises, as the assembled characters of every race, creed, and color are brought together in hope and then devastated by loss.

“Bobby” is a beautifully realized film that reflects America's past while at the same time shines a current spotlight on the issues that Kennedy was so passionate about so long ago—racism, poverty, religious intolerance, and how to eradicate them from the American experience. These are issues that 30 years later are still at the forefront of our political and personal existence.

If you remember that fateful day in 1968, don't miss “Bobby.” And if you don't remember, make sure you see it any way. It will explain much of what the 1960s meant to those of us who were there, dreaming of a tolerant and truly equal America we could all be proud of. And who knows, maybe this movie will help make that dream finally come true.

(Updated 08/30/07 NJ)

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