A Hopeful, Rather Than Sensational, Look at a Politician (RFK movie)

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It’s been some time since the Kennedy name has been a simple code word for hope, courage, social justice and the like. In America’s pop obsession with the illustrious family, the name in recent years has more often hit the headlines for scandal and tragedy, accident or addiction.

But rehabilitation of a sort is at hand if Emilio Estevez, an unabashed Kennedy admirer who wrote and directed “Bobby,” has his way. Mr. Estevez’s drama about the night of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination as he sought the presidential nomination in 1968, is scheduled for release on Nov. 17.

In the film a kaleidoscope of renowned actors — Martin Sheen (Mr. Estevez’s father), Harry Belafonte, Sharon Stone, Laurence Fishburne, Demi Moore — play unremarkable, fictional people whose lives intersect at the moment of Kennedy’s shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

As for the candidate, Mr. Estevez chose to portray him only in newsreels from the time, and only in the most flattering light: striding through Appalachia with poverty-stricken families, championing civil rights, wading through crowds of awestruck supporters, holding forth on high-minded ideals as he did in his very last speech: “Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.”

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