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Robot & Frank

By AP KRYZA
Indirectly answering the question of what happened to Rocky’s cousin Paulie and his robot maid as they grew old together, freshman director Jake Schreier’s touching Robot & Frank asks big questions about the automation of elder care while avoiding the tendency to milk tear ducts. The film follows an elderly, retired cat burglar (the great Frank Langella) who lives in isolation in the near future, struggling with kleptomania and bouts of dementia to the chagrin of his son (James Marsden), who purchases an ASIMO-like robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to cook, clean, and care for him. Plagued by boredom and the yuppies who seek to digitize and close his local library—and thus sever his relationship with librarian Susan Sarandon—Frank begins to plot a series of heists, and finds a companion and capable partner in his robot friend. This all sounds rather precious, but Schreier’s is a small film examining the surprisingly poignant relationship between man and machine, families and societal changes without teetering into saccharine preaching. Langella gives a cantankerous performance of subtle pain, and the film fully utilizes the great actor in every single scene, allowing you to get inside his wilting brain and explore the impact of his waning memories. It’s a buddy film in which the buddy is a computer, yet somehow it all registers on a deeply human level.
 
  • Genres: Science fiction, Comedy drama
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, August 24, 2012
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Some Language ]
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Frank Langella [Frank], Peter Sarsgaard [Voice of Robot], Susan Sarandon [Jennifer], Liv Tyler [Madison], James Marsden [Hunter], Jeremy Strong [Jake], Jeremy Sisto [], Liev Schreiber [Voice of Robot]
  • Directed by: Jake Schreier [Director], Christopher Ford [Screenwriter], Jeremy Bailer [Executive Producer], Lance Acord [Producer], Galt Niederhoffer [Producer], Jackie Bisbee [Producer], Sam Bisbee [Producer], Matthew Lloyd [Cinematographer], Jacob Craycroft [Film Editor], Sharon Lomofsky [Production Design], Lisa Myers [Art Director], Michelle Schluter-Ford [Set Decoration]
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