Robot & Frank (2012)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  19 September 2012 (France)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 49,338 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 79 user | 247 critic | 33 from

Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. But soon the two companions try their luck as a heist team.



(screenplay) (as Christopher Ford)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robot (voice)
Robot Performer
James D. Compton ...
Skinny Sheriff
Dana Morgan ...
Additional Robot Performer


In the near future, Frank is a retired catburglar living alone while his successful son, Hunter, tries to care for him from afar. Finally, Hunter gets him a robot caretaker, but Frank soon learns that it is as useful as a burglary aide. As Frank tries to restart his old profession, the uncomfortable realities of a changing world and his worsening dementia threaten to take beyond what any reboot can do for him. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Friendship doesn't have an off switch.


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 September 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Robot i Frank  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$35,539 (USA) (17 August 2012)


$3,325,638 (USA) (18 January 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Reunites Frank Langella with James Marsden after Superman Returns (2006) and The Box (2009). In Bryan Singer's movie they played uncle and nephew (Perry and Richard White). See more »


After the Robot is switched on for the first time, you can see the reflection of a crew member on the side of Hunter's car, then another time after the Robot goes into the house. See more »


Frank: Every security system is designed by security companies, not thiefs. It's not the question of if a thief can break in, it's how long. They place all the heavy systems where their customers can see them. They're selling the feel of security.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Over the closing credits, there's footage of real assisted-living robots in various stages of development. See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Best and Worst Movies of 2012 (2013) See more »


Fell On Your Head
Written and performed by Francis and the Lights
Courtesy of Polydor Ltd.
under license from Universal Music Enterprizes
K T T F Music (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny and sad in equal measure
16 November 2012 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

It seems like once a year or so an Alzheimer's movie comes along and knocks me for a loop. I don't know what it is; I've never had any personal, real-life experience with the condition or its unfortunate sufferers, but there's ripe material for crafting warm and moving stories which invariably end with me in tears. In the last few years I have been devastated by films such as Away From Her and Barney's Version, and while Robot and Frank is certainly comparable, it's a lighter, less harrowing take on a tragic side of aging, and ultimately results in a much more enjoyable experience.

Frank Langella plays Frank, a divorced senior living a life of solitude in rural New York. Between visits and video calls from his children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) concerned about his seemingly deteriorating mental state, Frank fills his time with visits to the local library to flirt with librarian Jennifer (Susan Sarandon), and by shoplifting decorative soaps from the store occupying the former site of his favourite restaurant. He is a man of the past, and his little moments of defiance in the face of change establish his character early, so when Hunter (Marsden) arrives with a new robot caregiver, Frank is understandably offended.

As much as Frank's memory regarding the day to day seems to be fading, his former 'profession' as a cat burglar remains at the front of his mind, and the robot's insistence on finding a project to keep him mentally engaged opens a window of opportunity for Frank to focus his mind and retreat back to the glory days of his youth. The planning and execution of heists sees a charming relationship forming between Frank and his robot companion, complemented by a sweet potential romance and stark moments of sadness.

There's a clever subtext running through Robot and Frank as well, commenting on the loss of personality in the digital age, and the disposable nature of modern life. The more we come to rely on technology for everything, from our reading material to our aged care, the less we ourselves are practically capable of, giving rise to a generation of privileged, ironic, but purposeless people ('yuppies' as Frank calls them). What Robot and Frank highlights is not just the fragility, but also the value of a mind filled with life experience and skills. There's no substitute for the complex intelligence of our brains, and even the most sophisticated technology has more to learn from us.

Robot and Frank feels like a film aimed at an older generation, but there is so much to enjoy for anyone who might be occasionally frustrated by our cynical modern world. There's a great balance of laughs, romance and sadness with a fun sci-fi twist, right down to the subtle Star Wars reference.

61 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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