David Denby, the less-skillful of the two New Yorker film critics weighs in on Bobby in this week's issue. I have not seen the film, rumored to arrive here on Thanksgiving, but this review bugged me. Denby writes,
. . . But his script never rises above earnest banality, and we are constantly being taught little lessons in tolerance and humanity: Laurence Fishburne, as a sous-chef channelling Martin Luther King, Jr., exudes calm wisdom in a dispute with a Latino kitchen employee; Lindsay Lohan, marrying a boy she barely knows in order to keep him out of combat, is wide-eyed and trusting. The practice of casting a gang of well-known actors in tiny parts can be fun if the actors do something witty, but Estevez squeezes them for pathos and heartbreak. Didn’t anyone tell him that you can’t throw a celebrity-movie party around such an event as an assassination? . . .
He was great that night, both princely and warm, and, for anyone who heard him in those final days, the movie will recall his powers of empathy and moral alertness. In 1968, he was a young man with a not always honorable past and some marvellous new instincts; he was smart, calculating, at times melancholy, at times optimistic. But he was essentially unfinished. Robert Kennedy was fascinating, yet there’s something peculiarly naïve and even desperate about clinging to the tentative possibilities that he held out as the quality of hope that has eluded us for almost forty years. . .
Both “Bobby” and “Fast Food Nation” were conceived at a moment, perhaps, when liberals were unable to tell stories, so deep was their despair. Looking at these screwed-up movies, even a conservative might say that it’s time for liberals to pull themselves together and begin their narrative anew . . .