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Robot and Frank 2012 ***


The idea of humans interacting with robots is often exploited for dark storytelling; Jake Schreier’s 20012 film finds something sweeter in the relationship between man and machine. Cat burglar Frank (Frank Langella) is getting past his prime, and his idyllic countryside retirement is interrupted when his son (James Marsden) insists on getting him a robot helper. Frank enlists the robot’s help for more nefarious purposes, but the onset of dementia means that the robot’s steady personality proves to have a more stabilising effect on Frank. Robot and Frank deals with dementia in an intelligent way, contrasting Frank’s radical ideas with his inability to achieve them, with his unwilling partnership with the robot giving him a temporary new lease of life. Peter Sarsgaard provides the voice of Robot, and Susan Sarandon is the librarian that Frank has designs on. A sci-fi film for people who aren’t into sci-fi, Robot and Frank is a moving and intelligent film about old age and technology.


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  1. I have to admit, i really struggled with this film. It grated on my nerves every step of the way. And the reveal at the end, with Susan Sarandon’s character, telegraphed itself so vividly that I couldn’t help but hate the movie for its obviousness. The film irritated me with its put-on quaintness. I wish I could go into more detail about what it was that so irked me, but it’s been almost a year since I’ve watched it. My brain must have blocked it out since. I do vaguely remember disliking the relationship between Frank and his robot–something about Langella’s performance rang false to me.

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