A Love Song for Bobby Long
(Lion’s Gate Films)
In this remarkably assured second film from director Shainee Gabel, the audience is treated to a long, lazy trip into the deliciously rotting side of New Orleans. Heavily romantic, in all the positive and negative connotations of that word, A Love Song for Bobby Long insinuates like cigar smoke. Scarlett Johansson is Pursy, Florida trailer trash who returns to “N’Awlins” after her mother’s death to find two alcoholics in her ramshackle, weed-encumbered house, one of whom is a white-haired and convincingly slimy John Travolta, the Bobby of the title. Cue the expected coming-of-age story. The atmosphere drips of southern gothic spiked with gin, sweat-stained wife-beaters and flowery literary quotes, as well as a plot that moves at the speed of molasses. But the movie joins a small group of pictures that capitalises on the romance of New Orleans (see also The Big Easy and Zandalee) and in doing so, overcomes the faults of the script with a sticky, decadent beauty.