Robot & Frank: Robots Can Do Good

Anyone one else feel like the only movies released these days about a future with robots always portray robots as these evil or combative.  Movies like I, Robot, the Terminator series, and the Transformer movies seen to make the idea of the advancement of robotics absolutely frightening.  Don’t get me wrong there are also movies that do paint a nicer picture for robots like Short Circuit, Wall-E, and Batteries Not Included but those do not stick with you as much as ones where the robot is not operating in favor of humans.  So it is always nice to catch a movie about a robot that warms your heart like in Jake Schreier’s Robot & Frank.

Here is a brief introduction to Robot & Frank:  Frank (Franks Langella) is a retired jewel thief residing in a quiet town “in the near future.”  Frank is battling an ailing memory and his two children, Hunter (James Marsden) and Madison (Liv Tyler), are concerned about what to do in his best interest.  Being that Madison is off working on her philanthropic endeavors, Hunter spends hours makes weekly trips to check in on Frank and is steadily get tired of doing so.  One trip Hunter returns with a robot that is designed to help Frank with his memory and improve his life style.  Initially Frank was irritated but its presence but soon finds that the robot will do whatever helps Frank with his memory including planning a couple of heists.  Here is the trailer:

Robot & Frank finally puts robots into a modern world and I mean that in two ways.  One is that it is not too advanced of a robot in too near a future nor is it too simple.  Second is that it presents robots as a sort of like political issue where there are two opposing sides and that comes through Franks’ kids.  On one hand you got Hunter could not want more that to find something to help improve his father’s quality of life if that means getting a robot and then you have Madison who balks at the need for artificial life.  These days there are always two sides to every argument so it was kind of interesting to see it here.

The other thing I thought they did well was with Frank’s condition.  His deteriorating memory was obviously the central piece of the story but it never felt like it was being force down your throat.  It was not so much that memories were disappearing but that they were blending together that he essentially cannot seem to put his memories in order.  It was very well written and Frank Langella’s performance makes the character feel so real.  He develops this cute relationship with Robot that really feels that he not just wants him there but needs the robot.

And when I say relatable I mean it makes you think about your own parent/grandparents.  It makes me think of when we got my grandmother satellite TV after she has only been able to watch the same 3 channels for many years.  She would always say “What do I need that for?”  Then sure enough there was not a day that when we called or went to see her that she did not have Turner Classic Movies playing on one of her TV’s.

Robot & Frank is a well written and sometimes emotional drama about the possibility of robots in a not too distant future.  It is definitely worth a watch, I give it an 8/10.  Also stay for the credits, shows the amazing advancements already in robotics.

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