Director: Emilio Estevez
Throughout his life, actor turned writer/director Emilio Estevez had been haunted by some of the most famous photos taken during the aftermath of the shocking assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 6th, 1968. Over the last several years, he passionately began working on a labor of love that would take an intimate look at several intersecting stories involving twenty-two main characters staying at the Ambassador Hotel on that fateful day. Inspired by both real accounts of the incidents and his own feelings about the spirit of Kennedy and what he perceived may have been occurring during that era, Estevez took two often displayed snapshots (the busboy near Kennedy post-shooting and a young man hurling a chair at the wall) and developed these brief actions into flesh-and-blood individuals that nearly bound off the screen. Although it’s initially hard to keep track of so many subplots in this cinematic tapestry that feels like a cross between Grand Hotel and the work of Robert Altman, Estevez is a wonderful tour guide but nonetheless it’s easy to get lost in the jaw-dropping star power of a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Freddy Rodriguez, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone and Elijah Wood. With so much happening in the one large setting of the Ambassador hotel, some of the plotlines are more successful than others and we’re utterly riveted by the ingenious casting of the glamorous Sharon Stone as a compassionate manicurist/hairdresser, and secondly by frequent tabloid victim Lindsay Lohan as a peaceful young woman (based on someone Estevez met during the film’s writing) who chooses to marry a friend from school (Elijah Wood) in order to prevent him from being sent to Vietnam. Estevez, who even sold some of his own artwork to help fund Bobby and shot the first two weeks of the film inside the now-demolished Ambassador Hotel earned an award from the Phoenix Film Critics Society for Breakout Performance of the Year Behind the Camera for this, his most deeply moving film yet. While it was overshadowed by bigger studio films like Babel, Dreamgirls and The Departed in terms of Oscar season, Bobby’s impressive cast won the Hollywood Film Award for Ensemble of the Year, was nominated as Best Picture Drama and Best Song (see below) from The Golden Globes and won Venice Film Festival’s Biografilm Award, where it was also nominated for the Golden Lion. Now that it’s been released on DVD, hopefully Bobby will get the audience it deserves as it’s truly one of the most inspiring and underappreciated films of 2006 and one that will hopefully engage voters to get more involved with politics today.