The idealism on display in “Bobby” is less a relic of an earlier era than it is symptomatic of a naivety about human nature. The tension between the film’s ambitions and the reality of the sinful human heart is on display right there in the hours before Kennedy was killed, and with him, idealism: The era was characterized by racism, infidelity, bloodshed, and unrest.

Only one man can save us from the darkness within our hearts and from the evil that men do. That man was not Robert Kennedy, however noble his intentions might have been. Estevez clings to a view of life that invests too much hope in one man, and too much implicit disappointment in the leaders we’ve had since.

Christians must be on guard against cynicism, and against putting any leader, regardless of party affiliation, on a pedestal. But we also must be careful not to invest our hopes in a fantasy of what might have been, downplaying the disgraces of earlier eras by alluding to the excesses of our own time. “Bobby” does both, asking us to believe the very best about what might have transpired had Kennedy become president, while hinting that our current problems are the result of more sinister leaders.

The film’s biggest surprise is that the end result is so banal.

AUDIENCE:  Older teens and up

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  Lord’s name taken in vain; multiple profanities; racial epithets
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Smoking and drinking; use of illegal drugs; hallucinations
  • Sex/Nudity:  A mistress dresses after a sexual encounter; a joke about urination; naked male backside; kissing; two men say they fantasized about a woman
  • Violence:  Scenes of racial unrest; an assassination is depicted, and bystanders are wounded
  • Religion:  A drug dealer speaks of a substance’s ability to bring about a “personal relationship with God”
  • Marriage:  A troubled couple takes a second honeymoon; a young woman marries a man to keep him from military service