Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Love Song of Bobby Long. Feature film. (2004, 120 mins) IMDB
ursy lives in a trailer park with a deadbeat guy in Panama City, Florida. She sits on a couch watching TV, and, with a spoon covered in peanut butter, dips it into a bag of M&Ms. The place is a mess. He tells her she received a phone call a few days ago from Bobby Long. Bad news. Her mother died. Furious, she packs up and makes a trip to New Orleans where her mother lived in a beat-up old home she owned. The front lawn is dirt. The paint long pealed away to expose boards. Not much in the way of furniture. Old appliances. It's a mess as well.
When Pursy arrives she finds out her mother was buried the day before. Dead a the age of forty. We never meet or see her mother. We don't know what she died from. We learn she sang, but obviously not that well given her living conditions. She never married, but obviously had affairs. We don't know who Pursy's father is, but there is speculation.
Pursy also discovers her mother left the house to Bobby Long, Lawson and her. The two men are drunks. They drink all the time. They live to get drunk. When they aren't drinking they are smoking cigarettes.
Pursy decides to live in the house. It upsets the balance of life for everyone. Part the story is the battle between the three as they share this house. A house without heat and little food.
It's not hard to imagine people living in such squalor, what I want to know is how do they pay for the electricity and property taxes etc. They have no obvious source of income. None of them work. It's never fully discussed in the story.
Part of the story is the woman's touch Pursy gives the inside of the place. She cleans and paints and organizes it all. By the end of the movie, there's something approaching a liveable space within the walls.
Pursy, still high school aged but a high school drop out, wants to get a job. Be a waitress so she can buy what she needs. The other two have a better idea. Go to school. Get your GED (whatever that is). She's not interested.
We learn Bobby was an English professor, but for some reason he got to drinking. Lost his job, his wife, his family. Lawson was one of his students. He's working on a novel, but nothing is any good. Between drinks of vodka or gin, they quote from the classics. Dylan Thomas to TS Eliot etc.
Eventually Pursy goes back to school since she has trouble finding a job. The two drunks help with her studies.
Act III comes when she discovers a letter from the lawyers. There's a new deal. After one year, the place is now entirely hers. She moves all of Bobby's and Lawson's belongings out onto the porch. They are gone from the house, but they reconcile. It helps, buried in her mother's belongings is a song she wrote for Bobby Long. She discovers he is her father, not the sax player with emphysema.
There is an epilogue.
Lawson wrote a book on his experiences which serves as the basis for this movie. Long died in 2005, three years after her mother. He was 50. Probably too much abuse to his body.
Pursy is going to university.
Posted 2009/06/04 at 20h57ET in Movie Commentary.