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Laakbaar12 November 2012
It's hard to fault this movie. Literally. I was going to rate it as an 8, but I have to give it a 9 because I can't think of anything about it to criticise.

The plot is rather simple. Frank is a confused older man who is finding it difficult to take care of himself. He is given a robot medical assistant who is programmed to do only one thing: help Frank. Frank resists mightily at first, but soon Frank improves remarkably and takes up his earlier vocation: stealing jewels. It turns out that the robot's programming does not extend to obeying the law...

This film is interesting, surprising, heart-warming, intelligent, thought-provoking, amusing, understated, well written and well directed. It delivers first-rate performances by first-rate actors.

It defies categorisation. Is it science fiction? A heist movie? A family drama? A melancholic feel-good story about aging? It has no shootouts, no car chases, no superspies, no superheros, no martial arts scenes, no demented villains. What it does have is character development, good writing and a nice story.

Kudos to Schreier, Ford, Langella and Sarandon.
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Funny and sad in equal measure
markdroulston16 November 2012
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.
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Robot and Frank...3.5 out of 4 Skittles
FilmStallion6 September 2012
Robot & Frank opens nationally this week only at a limited number of select art-house theaters across the country, and most likely won't get the larger release it deserves…which frankly is too bad. The film uniquely crosses across so many genre borders and can best be described as a dramedy meets a heist thriller. Robot & Frank is incredibly charming, funny and moving.

Writer Christopher D. Ford pens his rare tale set sometime in the ambiguous near future. He doesn't worry about flying cars or futuristic fashion, and keeps this tale grounded in a plausible future that is easily believable. First time director Jake Schreier reveals a mature ability to find the perfect pacing that develops the characters with ease and exact timing that turns the comedy bits into gold.

Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon, Good Night, and Good Luck) is nothing short of exceptional as the title character of Frank. He is hilarious and poignant as the surly ex-con who is starting to lose his mind, and radiates a million emotions across his face without saying a word. If this film could possibly find a larger audience, Langella would have a good shot at punching his Oscar card again.

The smaller supporting cast plays in perfect to establish Frank's present and his past. Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, Dead Man Walking) radiates a beautiful sadness playing a lonely librarian and one of Frank's only connections to the real world. Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings, Armageddon) and James Marsden (X-Men, 27 Dresses) are solid as Frank's grown-up kids who don't have the time to care for their father and his worsening condition. Best of all is Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Garden State) who brings a perfect sense of comedy and real life validation as the voice of the robot. His dry wit steals the scene on numerous occasions.

Robot & Frank is one of the best films of the year. It's a mystery why bigger studio distributors are so afraid to fully get behind a film like this and push it out the mass audience, especially when you think about the $80 million that was spent on advertising costs for a film like Battleship alone. Robot & Frank is funny, exciting and touching. What else does a movie need?

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An amusing & affecting look at technology, aging, and family
Dan20 April 2012
A funny & touching film that is very effective at getting the audience to identify and empathize with Frank Langella's aging character, a former cat burglar who is gradually growing senile. Frank's son buys him a robot caretaker --a health-nut disciplinarian with a soft spot in its hardware heart -- and Frank eventually persuades the robot to be his partner-in-crime in some late-life capers he has planned.

The film is cleverly and ambiguously set in the "near future," so the 30- & 40-somethings of today could easily be the Franks of tomorrow: still using the slang of the 2000s & 2010s, not scared of the latest technology but still somewhat befuddled by it, and rather aghast when young people ask us about our quaint "relationship with printed media."
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Quite unexpectedly beautiful
siderite29 January 2013
I didn't expect much. Frank Langella is a great old actor, but I don't really like him much. Same for Susan Sarandon. Then it is an indie film, something that just a few people would see in a limited release. So I hoped for something slightly funny, maybe with crazy people that try to seem deep, that kind of stuff. Well, I was mistaken on all counts!

Frank Langella played beautifully his role of an amnesic old man helped by a caretaker robot to plan and execute heists. His son and daughter have minimal roles, as well as most other actors. Susan Sarandon's important role is revealed towards the end. All actors play very well, though the gem of this movie is the story and the little details in the script. Finally I can say that I saw a movie with a fantastic script and am naturally puzzled how this kind of film gets a limited release.

Bottom line: a comedic drama which explores the depth of soul, while taking us through a story that is both original and very well written and executed. The Keystone cops type of thing at the end blew it a little for me, but the rest is top notch and the film is definitely worth the watch.
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Enjoyable and unique...but it might leave you a tad unfulfilled.
MartinHafer6 March 2013
I enjoyed "Robot & Frank", though I am not quite sure why I've seen it referred to as a comedy or a 'buddy comedy'. It's actually a rather serious and ultimately depressing film--but one that is highly original.

Frank Langella stars as an aging man who is slipping mentally and physically. Exasperated, his son decides to do something to free him from having to worry about his father--buy him a helper robot that will keep an eye on him and care for him. However, Langella's memory is spotty--and the very larcenous part of his past is still alive and kicking. And, he's hoping that the robot might help him on his next caper.

The film is a bit hard to rate. I was stuck between a 7 and an 8. It is super-original and fresh but also a bit of a downer--particularly towards the end. It's nice to see some very good acting but I wish the film was a bit more fulfilling. What did you think? Did you also find it a tad unsatisfying when all was said and done. Good--very good. But also not exactly an enjoyable film.
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In the year 2525...
Steve Pulaski17 February 2013
Robot and Frank is a sweet and tender drama, set in what it proclaims to be "the near future," about a retired cat-burglar, responsible for several crimes that were said to rob the insurance criminals and the robot that is placed in his life as a caregiver when he becomes no longer able-bodied enough to do so. The man is Frank (Frank Langella), an ex-convict beginning to experience dementia/Alzheimer's like symptoms. His son, Hunter (James Marsden), is tired of commuting ten hours round-trip on a weekly basis to care for his father, so to assure his safety and health, he buys him a slick domestic robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard), which is programmed to help the elderly in their daily activities. The bot also promotes a rather therapeutic lifestyle, emphasizing healthy eating habits and cognitive exercises to restore and maintain brain activity. I can only hope these things become available publicly in the near future.

As expected, Frank is hesitant to use the robot, finding it useless since he sees himself as capable to take care of himself. Yet when he realizes that the robot doesn't have the conscious ability to distinguish ethical behavior from illegal behavior, Frank believes he can get back into the petty-crime business and use the robot as a lock-picking device. Their first crime involves stealing a rare antique book from the local library, which is looking to overhaul its print media format in favor of the digital age. The librarian, Jennifer (Susan Sarandon), who Frank begins to develop a small little crush on, is dismayed, but coping with the loss of print books in the world, so Frank believes that his effort to save one of the rarest books of all time will make her a bit happier.

A subplot involves Frank's daughter Madison (Liv Tyler), who works on-location in Turkmenistan, coming to visit him shortly after Hunter gives him the robot, to show that human-care is the best care of all and that robots can not provide a human with the same kind of love a human can. She possesses something of the opinion Frank held before this robot came into his life, and we wonder if she will come out changed like him.

The "near future" presented is the kind of near future that we ourselves can kind of predict, rather than it being a Jetsons-esque utopia. All cars have a "Smart Car" built towards them if the "Smart Car" was compressed and made leaner (they look like a twenty-five mile-an-hour wind can blow them over), digital media is taking over in places like libraries, phone calls are made through the TV in a Skype-like format, and the aforementioned domestic robot has become something of a standard. This is the second most favorable aspect to this film, next to the relationship Frank has with his robot. The world the film erects is pragmatic and easily-likable. It doesn't require the suspension of disbelief. It might have if this was made in the 1990's. Libraries going away? Yeah, right.

The film sweetly gives us a parable on how aging and caregiving may be changed in the next few years, with the influx of technology and the possibilities for in-home care with robots. As foreign as this sounds, it isn't far from likely. American citizens, especially the elderly, have had a terrifically tough time adapting to a world that is changing faster than many can keep up, and this film details that. We see Frank is more in-tuned with technology than many others his age, but he may be one of the lucky ones. If there's anything to take away from Robot and Frank, it's that there will be a frightening increase of new and a depressing decrease of old. Life as we know it may not be as simple as it once was - one of the downsides to technological advances.

Many of the film's ideas and actions, such as humanizing a burglar, constructing a believable world where robots have become dependable caregivers, and injecting a very small love story, all work with the gentle direction of Jake Schreier and the thoughtful, sympathetic writing by Christopher D. Ford. This is a premise that shouldn't work as well as it does, but there are many smart people in front of and behind the camera, assuring greatness with every shot. As it ended, I kind of wanted to see it again, which is a high compliment to pay to a movie.

Starring: Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon, and Peter Sarsgaard. Directed by: Jake Schreier.
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A surprisingly heartfelt movie about a thief and his robot. I enjoyed it and this is a good one time watch. I say B.
Tony Heck6 February 2013
"How do you know this whole thing isn't just one big scam?" Frank (Langella) is an ex-jewel thief who is living alone and is getting dementia. Worried about his dad his son Hunter (Marsden) gives him a gift, a robot to help him remember things and help out around the house. At first Frank is opposed until he learns he can teach the robot to be his partner. I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie going in. It looked OK but also had a feeling it was going to be slow and a little dry. I was wrong. While the movie is not at all action packed or exciting it had an original idea that really kept you interested the entire time and I found it to be an enjoyable movie. There is comedy in this and the way its presented makes it seem like this thing could really happen. The movie is actually surprisingly touching and well worth seeing. I just don't know if I'd watch it again, but I'm glad I saw it once. Overall, a good and heartfelt movie that is well worth checking out. I give it a B.
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Refreshing concept with some great moments!
robotbling15 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
( Robot and Frank generated some buzz at the Sundance Film Festival, and I'm happy to report that it wasn't just hype. It's a genuinely entertaining character study set in the next 50 years that manages to be both funny and surprisingly touching. And while it is a relatively small independent film you wouldn't know it from the cast, which includes recognizable stars Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, and Liv Tyler (with Peter Sarsgaard providing the voice for the titular robot). Langella is a perfect fit for the part, and if you're sick of the tiresome trope of the killer robot you'll find the film's premise totally refreshing.

As might be expected, Frank is none too thrilled about the prospect of a robot babysitter. The VGC-60L humanoid is about the size of a child and speaks with a neutral voice a bit like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. In appearance it looks less impressive technically than Honda's ASIMO – boxier and rougher around the edges – more akin to the Russian humanoids Arne and Arnea.

The film bypasses its budget limitations by employing a fairly realistic looking robot suit, which, while not quite as good as it could have been, has a certain charm all its own.

That's OK, as the thrust of the film isn't the sci-fi bits but about Frank, his condition, and his relationships. These are handled very well. Luckily, aside from one or two problems, the script is smart. Frank's daughter (Liv Tyler), initially dislikes the robot too – she's politically aligned against them – a movement that will likely emerge as robotics technology encroaches our daily lives. And there are some very poignant moments between Frank and the robot that really got me.

Robot and Frank is up there with the best robot movies out there. I took my mom to this movie and we both really enjoyed it, so it goes to show that you don't have to be a robot geek to see it. The credits even include footage from a handful of contemporary robot projects to show the audience what is out there, including Karlsruhe University's Armar III, Murata Boy (the cycling robot), Waseda University's TWENDY-ONE, Pal Robotics' humanoid REEM-B, the University of Tokyo's Assistant Robot, and a few others.
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Frank Langella acting in his peak
celik-663-68598025 April 2013
I could find no error in the story and that is unbelievable when I remember those top latest movies that I have watched in recent days of which they had at least a few.

What impresses me at most is that we can trace those warm family ties which we used to have once and now deteriorating.

The movie is easily watched; can assume the camera is well used and Frank Langella is acting marvelously.

I wonder if the reason I liked the movie too much is that I am 63 years old.

One more comment: It shows that you can make also make a good movie without a big budget and too many walking man.
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Loved it!!!
Dave Lucas5 April 2013
Robot and Frank - This, the debut feature (lots of creative debuts in this post) from director Jake Schreier is sure to land the young film maker a slot on The Froggy's (or Best of 2012 series...coming soon) list of first time directors this year. Quite "Frank"ly I loved this picture and it was one of the happiest surprises I've gotten from a movie in quite some time.

I don't know why I didn't expect more going in, honestly. Frank Langella is always stellar. Susan Sarandan is one of the best actresses working and seems to be in a minor career upswing at the moment. Neither disappoint at all. Liv Tyler turns in her best post-Altman work to date, and James Marsden holds his own capably beside the two living legends who lead the cast. Oh, and let's not forget Peter Sarsgaard's voice work as the Robot. Without his ability to portray the character with so much human and inhuman quality the picture would never have worked.

I guess I just expected a flick about the frustrations of getting old and not being able to do things for yourself. I sympathize with the theme, but it has been covered in cinema often enough and well enough that I require some unique and original elements to really grab my attention. The Robot & Frank script (by writer Christopher D. Ford) has them in spades. It was a film about friendship and acceptance. It was also a film about the way that technology is changing the world that we live in. I would have given this a five star grade if not for the fact that the big plot twist is taken almost verbatim from an even SMALLER indie pic called Lovely, Still from a couple of years ago. Robot & Frank handled said twist with a lot more panache, so I won't judge it TOO harshly. Oh, and watch the closing credits. They tell a story all their own...4 1/2 of 5 stars.
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Solid down to earth sci fi tale of larceny, the printed word, memory and friendship--all while being pretty funny
Matthew Stechel29 August 2012
Robot and Frank has a lot of rich themes to it that only really came to me while i was thinking about it after-wards...the film is a lot deeper and layered with meaning and symbolism then it initially appears to be--but enough about that--is the robot awesome??? He's more cute then awesome--but he is one charming robot! In fact he kind of reminded me of the one Kevin Spacey voiced in the Sam Rockwell movie "Moon" In fact this whole movie itself--from its low key tone, to its homey set design, to its somewhat enigmatic ending reminded of that 2009 film.

Frank Langella does a great job here--he really grounds the film in reality--which is a great thing because the longer the film goes on, the more incredible and outlandish it becomes---there are some reveals that happen way too quickly throughout and aren't seemingly set up so well but thanks to the amazing chemistry that Langella and the robot develop with one another (thanks to excellent voice work by Peter Sarsgaard)--you kind of shrug your shoulders and go with it...or at least i did. (its really only later that you realize why the film's reveals had to be so quickly shoe-horned in there and that is all i will say about that.) Langella is a man showing early signs of memory loss and is clearly in the beginning of what might end up ultimately being the loss of his mental faculties, he of course doesn't think this is true--and why should he? He's keeping himself busy, his mind active, he reads a lot, he goes to the library and flirts with Susan Surandon's kinda hot Liberian a lot, he seems like he'd be a lot sharper then he does whenever he finds himself around his rather angry son. It doesn't help that he keeps stealing these carved bars of soap from a bath and body-works shop that he insists is supposed to be his favorite diner Harry's ("but dad-harry's closed down years ago" is the constant refrain from whomever langella tells that he's gonna eat at harry's..or that fact that he keeps asking his son how things are at Princeton. "dad i haven't been to Princeton in years." uh-oh) His son (played with a nice mixture of intense worry, frustration, and some good deadpan humor by James Marsden) having had enough of having to drive out to check up on his father over and over again gets him a live in robot health care professional/servant! (why its all the rage among the elderly and infirm these days!) Langella is predictably agitated by this (who wouldn't be?) but in some rather quick and amusing scenes manages to be won over by the robot---it helps that the robot helper has some awesome advantages hidden up its sleeve--such as a very tasty lasagna recipe, a memory that can be screened on a TV screen, and a nice ability to zing frank back for starters.

The film then makes a very quick--almost whip-lash inducing reveal that Frank was in fact a jewel thief/cat burglar as a young man. It then again almost too quickly gives him a perfect caper to try and pull. Susan Surandon's job is in danger of being replaced by--robot fact the whole library's inventory of books is in danger of being replaced by kindles and technology. (goodbye book jackets and musty pages, hello sleek shiny neon colored plastic) Its the library's most valuable book (an old hardbound copy of Don Quixote) and his want to impress the librarian that finally kicks the plot into gear---Frank's gonna return to his cat burglarizing ways with the help of his trusty robot sidekick. Only problem--the robot's too good at it--the thievery causes Frank to feel young again and this leads to him wanting to go on an even bigger score. You can pretty much guess where the film goes from there--except there are many many jagged pieces here and there that don't quite fit as Frank later says while examining the loot.

The film has a great sense of tone--its perfectly deadpan and nicely low-key the whole time, never giving certain scenes more weight then they need to be. The film has some really quick but also really funny moments here and there throughout--some of which almost make the whole thing worth sitting through itself. However the film also has some almost too neat coincidences, a much too enigmatic ending that wants the viewer to decide for him/her self what it all means, and a not particularly interesting go nowhere subplot involving Liv Tyler as Frank's robot helper hating daughter (she wants to liberate the robot servers and stop making them slaves--etc, etc. she mostly exists i think to humanize frank, and make him someone who actually means a lot to someone flesh and blood so that his growing relationship to robot will be more believable--but liv tyler has so little to do in this movie, i kept wondering why she was there to begin with--i'm still wondering quite honestly...her character doesn't quite make a lot of sense but whatever) Film is very amusing, and i feel very much worth watching on the whole despite its somewhat maddening flaws--however if you're paying close attention to what's actually on screen--i think the film will either grow on you as you think about it after-wards, or will frustrate you madly--i thought it was pretty clever--but then again i also thought the robot was cute.
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So different, so entertaining
Amy Adler7 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Frank (Frank Langella) is an old codger who is, also, in the first stages of dementia. Its the near future and Frank's favorite spot, the library, in the way-up-there New England town he lives in is drastically changing. The beautiful librarian (Susan Sarandon) already has a robotic helper, Mr. Darcy, who can do all the menial stuff. But, at last, precious books are going into glass cases as display items and there will be no books to circulate. Frank hates this. Even more oppressive for the old guy is his son, Hunter (James Marsden) has bought his dad a robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard), no name. This mechanical friend's objective is to improve Frank's health and to monitor his condition, should it turn worse. At first sight, F hates the blasted thing and wants to switch it off. Alas, no off button. Gradually, Frank warms up to the steel pal, even though he wants Frank to go on walks and eat way healthier than he has been. Suddenly, things are about to get interesting. Unbelievably, Frank is an old cat burglar so it is a revelation to learn that the robot is at Frank's command, even when a crime might occur. Soon, Frank has his private R2D2 learning to pick locks and disable security systems. With many Yuppie types moving to the area, Frank sees a golden opportunity. Will he get caught? This is a very different, very entertaining film. Its science fiction story is well conceived and executed. Langella is perfect as the grouchy old thief while the others, including Liv Tyler as Frank's daughter, all support him with class. Then, the Northeast woodsy setting is very lovely, with impressive photography, and the direction alternates a slow and fast pace to great success. If you are in the mood for "anything goes", get Robot & Frank, no question.
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A.I. ftw :D
Luke Reeves5 May 2013
I really enjoyed this film. It has some of my favourite actors in it, so I was bound to like it. However, I also found myself captivated by the robot.

I wish I could afford one. They are £28,000 and certainly do not perform, in terms of communication, as well as the one in the movie. Yet like the movie states right in the beginning, "in the near future."

The movie is very thought provoking in regards to the issues surrounding robot behaviour and how it could affect human life. Some notions raised by the film certainly have never crossed my mind, though became interesting to conceive nonetheless.

All in all a great movie with a good cast delivering a solid piece of entertainment. Many moments were a pleasure to watch.
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Mr. Roboto
valis194927 April 2013
ROBOT & FRANK (dir. Jake Schreier) Frank is an elderly man living alone who is experiencing symptoms of dementia, and his son buys him a robot that is especially programmed to deal with problems of the aged. Although the film is set in a 'not too distant future', it's not really a Sci-Fi film, but more of a heartwarming tale of caring and acceptance. What makes things interesting is that Frank is a retired master thief and lock picker, and he is able to convince the robot that it would be mentally beneficial for him to teach the robot the finer points of his old trade. And, then they go to work targeting likely marks within the community. A great cast featuring, Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon, and also the clever interaction between Frank and the robot (voice over by Peter Sarsgaard) make this film very much 'worth a look'.
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This intelligence is far from artificial in Robot & Frank
rgblakey1 April 2013
There are movies that come along that don't really have one genre, but instead mix them and if done right can really create something special. The latest film Robot and Frank starring Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon, and Peter Sarsgard blending drama with a touch of Sci-fi, but does this film work or is this great cast wasted on a failed experiment?

Robot and Frank follows a retired cat burglar in the near future whose family is concerned with him living alone. When his wealthy son delivers a robot caretaker to help with his day to day life he begins to see the benefits it could have for him to return to his old life. But as things seem to get better, his worsening health and dementia may be more than even the robot can help with. This is one of those films from description may or may not sound all that appealing, but delivers a truly surprising emotional film. For most of the film it is just Langella and the robot in charge of carrying the film and it works amazingly well. Langella gives one of the best performances in a quite some time, which is saying something since he is pretty much always great. This story manages to take a story element that is somewhat out there and add some humor and a hefty dose of heart to create a really unexpected experience. There are not over the top CG special effects to bring the robot to life, just a person in a very basic suit and it works perfectly.

This is one of those special movies that only comes along every so often and is a must see. You wouldn't think there could be much of a relationship between and old man and a robot this strong until you see this film. While everything is pretty laid out for you about the direction of this movie, it still manages to throw in some unexpected twists and surprises that will make you love this movie even more. If you haven't seen or heard of this movie you need to fix this issue immediately and check it out.
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Not without my robot
kosmasp1 April 2013
A great central performance by Frank L. here, but also great supporting cast. And even though Liv Tyler only has a small role she shine more than in another robot starring movie she did a while ago (though I wouldn't compare the Hugh Jackman starring fun ride with this one at all). And talking about the robot: It's great how you feel for something that tells you not to feel for it. It's a nice and effective trick to get the audience involved, even when morality is vague at best.

A clever movie, that deservedly won a few awards too. It's not flawless, which can be said about any other movie too, but it does have a big heart even if sometimes you might not be able to feel it (no pun intended). And while I wasn't sure about the ending when the end credits rolled, I think there was no other way to end it now! :o)
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An satisfying and well written plot
Gordon-115 February 2013
This film is about an old man with dementia who forms an unlikely attachment to his robot caretaker.

"Robot And Frank" has a really good plot. It tells how a man has to bear with a robot caretaker in order not to be admitted to a nursing home. From his ability to plot big projects, it seems that his functional ability is not impaired. However, we see later on that in fact he does not remember even the most fundamental stuff. This shock is quite a surprise. In addition, I really like the parallels and opposites in the plot. We see Frank's attitude to the robot change, his attitude to his daughter change, and how Frank and the robot both lose their memories. Apart from the plot, the sets are nice as well; simplistic, bright and modern settings make the visuals appealing. Acting by Frank Langella is impressive as well, he really conveys the feelings and thoughts of his character very well. I enjoyed watching "Robot And Frank".
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Frank Langella is great
SnoopyStyle12 September 2013
In the near future, libraries are closing, and robots are helpful workers. Frank (Frank Langella) is an old thief who's suffering memory problems. His son Hunter (James Marsden) is tired of taking care of him, and gives him a robot helper. Only Frank decides to use the robot to help him rob an annoying neighbor.

Frank Langella is great at this. He's able to convey a likable character who can't help his thieving ways. This isn't a jokey film, but it does have some fun. There is a profound story happening right under here that speaks more towards how his children treat Frank, and what Frank is truly looking for. It's a very nice little movie.
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About memory, existence, friendship, and how to keep going in old age.
secondtake5 August 2013
Robot and Frank (2012)

The title doesn't take this very far, and the opening of the movie--a good half hour's worth--doesn't really promise a lot, either. But I promise if you hang in there, some subtle and not-so-subtle circumstances come into play.

The basics are this: it is the very near future (the cars look like ours but the world is slightly more interconnected on the internet). The main character, played by the always compelling Frank Langella, is an aging ex-jewel thief and father of two who is just slightly, but clearly, losing his memory. His son decides to ease his burden taking care of dad by getting a robot--a humanoid kind of machine that talks and thinks in a smart, rudimentary way (a little like a white C3PO).

So after initial resistance, the old man befriends the robot. And the reason (at first) is the robot seems willing to help the man with his continuing life of crime. It's comic, and slightly touching, and a little funny. Mostly it's amusing and warm. And so the movie begins at last.

There is a woman at the library (you know, where they still have books printed on paper) who is the man's friend, and he has a kind of deep affection for her that makes sense toward the end. There are a couple of fresh thefts, some interactions with the son and also his daughter, and some interesting twists. Mostly, though, is the realization that our memories are who we are. And the robot, in fact, like any computer, has a memory, too. As the father loses his, the computer has the option of keeping or losing his own. With some kind of existential consequences.

This could have been more hilarious, and more of a weeper, and more clever, no doubt. But it treads a beautiful middle ground, wastes no time, and pulls together more or less by the end. Far better than many movies you've wasted a couple hours on, I guarantee.
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Good but could've been better
tr915 August 2013
Robot & Frank is a good story of friendship. The Robot looks and sounds great and the film in general is just something different. Frank Langella plays the role of Frank extremely well. The whole film and the way their friendship develops is somehow very believable.

The plot is simple but effective and very unique, different to anything I have seen before really. I do feel this film could have been so much more though. This had all the makings to be a proper comedy but seemed more of a drama to me and also the main part of the actual film was very short lived.

It was still a good film. 6/10.
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So much more than most
Floyd Maxwell17 April 2013
It is nice to read the other (few) comments. Each comment is different from the other. Just like this movie is so different from other movies.

The tone of this movie is a delight. The music is perfectly chosen. Frank L. could not be better, nor could Peter Sarsgaard's voice.

And this is the director's first movie?! Truly can not wait for his next creation.

It is the perfect complement to the river of "meh" that Hollywood forces out each year.

One for the ages. And for all ages. Literally.

Simply awesome, in such an understated way. Enjoy.
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Fine story telling.
soupster16 March 2013
Films with robots in humanoid form, almost always excite philosophical questions about existentialism. The robot in 'Robot and Frank is no different. Although a well trodden track in film history, from Metropolis to Bladerunner to Ai... this film has a fresh and enchanting approach to the relationships between man and machine.

Films that are well written, contain well acted performances... and have authentic characterisations, can easily overcome what appears to be something of a clichéd premise. 'Robot and Frank' is just such a film.

The juxtaposition of the fragility that man and machine share is explored intelligently and without mawkishness, even though there is a 'wash' of both wit and sweet vulnerability that imbues the story.

This is not a 'sci-fi' film. The 'Robot' character is more akin to a coffee-maker than R2. It's functions and abilities are kept strictly within the bounds of possibility if not reality. It does have C3P0's 'gear' sounds though! A question at this point... how many 'robot' films these days have zero CGI in them...? I was thoroughly engaged with the story and the performances throughout. As Yoda might say... Star Wars 7 it isn't... but a beautiful and well made entertainment it is! Mmmm!
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Warmhearted approach on serious topics
Bene Cumb1 March 2013
It is not easy to deal with issues like dementia, forgiveness, parental influence, alienation etc in a decent and versatile way - but the director Jake Schreier and screenwriter Christopher Ford have succeeded in this. Introduction of a robot enables to point out problems and shortcomings in human relations and general comprehensions. However, the first half or so is more interesting, then the pace declines, leading to an ordinary ending (with twists in between, though).

Of course, the cast in even and strong as well, beginning with Frank Langella (well, it is no Frost/Nixon, but still - he gives maximum performance the movie allows) and Susan Sarandon (always skillful, she is one of my favorite actresses). The characters of James Marsden (as Hunter) and Liv Tyler (as Madison) are less deliberated. Nevertheless, the outcome is good, and this less-than-1,5-hour movie is highly recommended to families with elderly (grand)parents in particular.
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Sweet but flimsy film that promises much but opts instead to gently peter out.
TheSquiss5 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
When the trailer for Robot & Frank started, my initial thought was 'Bicentennial Man reinvented' but as it unfolded it hinted at a yarn more sharply told, with greater depth, darker humour and something new to say about androids and relationships.

And after the film in its entirety? I'm delighted to report there's no need for a bucket as it stops waaaay before turning into a Robin-Williams-on-god-awful-form schmaltz-fest but, alas, it fails to build on the early promise.

Robot & Frank starts solidly, grows into a film with teeth and then just get's old and baggy like its human protagonist and turns into something gummy that dribbles and finally peters out. What a pity! Frank (Frank Langella) is old, cantankerous, an ex-con, bored and cheesed off by the bewildering world about him that has decided books are bad and digital replacements are gosh-darn amazing! His daughter, Madison (Liv Tyler), is travelling the world and his son, Hunter (James Marsden), is worried about his father's declining health and inability (combined with unwillingness) to take care of himself and opts for a robot to babysit him rather than make the 500 mile round trip every weekend, only to be greeted by abuse.

Naturally, Frank is reluctant but Hunter forces the issue and robot and man are forced together. It's inevitable, by the very nature of the film, that a bond will develop, but Frank takes it further when he discovers his mechanical companion may be useful in resurrecting his old career. Throw into the mix Jennifer (Susan Sarandon), the librarian of the ill-fated library Frank likes to visit, and Robot & Frank has all the ingredients of a fish-out-of-water love story about relationships and human failure.

Robot & Frank is no dystopian nightmare from a future too far away to consider, though it could certainly do with an injection of Holophin. Instead we have a sweet story led by a strong performance from Langella as a man whose independence has been stolen by his fading mind and weakened body. Frank barks his way through life but his need for companionship is as much a revelation to him as it is heartening for us. Rachel Ma as the robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) manages to animate her character enough to ensure we believe in its reality and the relationship between man and 'bot and it is a fun, funny, challenging and beautiful friendship that blossoms That the robot has no face may come down to the tiny budget (approximately $2.5m) and the limited schedule (a 20-day shoot) that prohibited CGI, but director Jake Schreier, in his feature debut, has used such limitations to Robot & Frank's favour. A recent article, When are we Going to Learn to Trust Robots, looked at the issues we humans have when interacting with machines and how the wrong 'face' can make a relationship impossible. It appears we like food mixers more than machines that smile at us. But there's none of that here for us.

Robot & Frank is a lovely film. It has moments of being very funny with some smile-twisting dialogue ("You're starting to grow on me." "Thank you, Frank. It's time for your enema.") and there are occasional scenes of poignancy, particularly when Frank yells at the robot that he's going to get rid of it only for it to respond, "What do you think will happen to me, Frank? I'll have failed…" Yes, it's sweet. It'll fill 90 minutes one Sunday afternoon as the roast settles, but it could be more and it jolly well should be.

There are numerous relationships effecting the film but we're not given a chance to experience more than a brief skim across their surface. What is the root of Hunter's anger with his dad? Why is Madison's relationship with him so different, and what happens to her? More than that, there are too many plot lines that build up the hopes and just fade, two many turns that reach dead ends. Are we really going to dispense with books completely? What kind of sheriff follows the whim of a slapstick villain? Why doesn't he follow through with his thoughts? Why do we need a villain if his story goes nowhere? When Hunter presents him with the robot, Frank recoils stating "You've got to be kidding me. I'm not that pathetic!" And, no, he isn't. Frank is a strong character in a failing body and a film that, in the end, is just too flimsy to do him justice.

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