Saturday, 15 September 2012

Robot and Frank

Robot and Frank, directed by Jake Schreier, is a quiet comedy-drama which takes place in ‘the near future’. It stars Frank Langella as Frank Weld, an older man who lives by himself in rural New York and has begun to suffer from dementia (e.g. he has trouble remembering his son’s name (Hunter) and the past fifteen years of his son’s life). To save on constant travel, Hunter buys his father a robot which can cook, clean and monitor Frank’s health. At first, Frank is angry and resistant. But then he discovers the robot can be trained to help him make a successful return to his previous career as a burglar. While the robot keeps reminding Frank that it is not human, an unlikely friendship begins to develop.

Robot and Frank is completely unbelievable and the plot is shaky at best. But its strengths more than outweigh its weaknesses. Langella, perfectly cast, does a great job as Frank, the likable forgetful crook, and gets good support from Susan Sarandon, among others. The film is beautifully shot, it moves at a good pace, it’s intelligent and it deals with the trials of aging in a funny, warmhearted and wise way, asking important questions about the things that give life meaning. Best of all, Robot and Frank has a couple of surprise twists I did not see coming. A delightful satisfying film for those who aren’t looking for action or outrageous comedy.

Robot and Frank gets a very solid ***. My mug is up.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, but I was apparently more disappointed than you were. The gaps in the plot struck me as more serious - sapping the movie of its steam and its impact. The final scene was just wackily out of context. All kinds of potential and as you say the acting was quite fine - but no mug up on this one **