An ambitious labor of love from writer/director/star Emilio Estevez, BOBBY attempts to distill the hope, anger, and confusion that gripped the U.S. in the late 1960s.
With the civil rights movement still reeling from the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the country embroiled in the confusion of Vietnam, Senator Robert F. Kennedy's campaign preached a message of peace and tolerance.
In a style similar to the sprawling works of Robert Altman or Paul Thomas Anderson, Estevez uses the June 4th, 1969, assassination of Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as the means to take a snapshot of the problems facing the country as the 1960's came to an end. The hotel is a microcosm of class and race, with characters bouncing off each other until the violent conclusion.
African-American head chef Edward (Laurence Fishburne) presides over a kitchen staffed primarily by Mexican Americans who are the victims of the racist restaurant manager, Timmons (Christian Slater). Timmons is reprimanded by hotel manager Paul Ebbers (William H. Macy), who is having an affair with a switchboard operator (Heather Graham) behind the back of his beautician wife (Sharon Stone).
Meanwhile, a young Diane (Lindsay Lohan) prepares to marry her classmate, William (Elijah Wood), in order to save him from going to Vietnam, and two collegiate campaigners for Senator Kennedy remove their ties to take their first LSD trip, courtesy of a resident hippie drug dealer (Ashton Kutcher).
Though the sheer volume of characters--and celebrities portraying them--is often overwhelming, Estevez is deft at making each plot thread convincing and involving. Though BOBBY is not a biopic and will in no way be mistaken for the definitive statement on the man or his life and times, it is thoroughly adept at distilling both his message and the time in which he fought to deliver it.