Review: Robot and Frank

A short, simple and heartfelt film that gives a subtle look at a very possible future.

When his father Frank shows signs of dementia, son Hunter decides to give him a robot aid to take care of him. While completely disinterested at first, Frank soon learns that the robot only wants to help him, with whatever he needs. So dutifully the robot learns and assists Frank in burglary; Frank’s talent from his younger days.

Set “in the near future” Robot and Frank explores future possibilities I currently find very interesting. From the evolution of robotics and the moralities there in, to the slow digitization of everything around us.
Frank (played wonderfully by Frank Langella) is the embodiment of a bygone age (even our current generation) with his mistrust of the technological boom, this is evident with his conflict with the hipster youths who live in a digital age. Susan Sarandon plays a librarian whose library that Frank frequents is getting completely replaced by a digital archive.
While Frank’s son is all about helping his father with new age methods, his daughter (Liv Tyler) is very liberal and free spirited; devoted to helping others as a human being. This device is a little obvious, and does make the other characters stand out as their obvious stereotypes, but it isn’t unwelcome in such a short story.

The writing and story strike best between Frank and his obedient servant. Frank Langella plays the part well, going from grumpy old man to reinvigorated rascal at the drop of a hat while keeping it honest. The robot itself learns, and becomes surprisingly sly after learning from a character such as Frank, and while very subtle, the writing is excellent with the duo’s dialogue.

There isn’t much else to say, as I say it is a very short film, but it is one I would recommend to anyone curious. It is has a gentle pace with some (perhaps predictable) interesting plot developments, as well as being a showcase for a very potential future for us as human beings!


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