Robot and Frank is set in the “near future” where robot helpers are almost common place, especially for people who need home care. This isn’t a too far off idea as each generation lives longer, more people need assisted living. In Frank’s case, he has some sort of dementia that is progressing slowly. His kids worry about him but are super busy (kids these days) so they buy him an assistant robot. Frank is a classic old man and hates the robot at first but over time slowly gets used to him. The robot eventually starts to give Frank some momentum and encourage him to do more things that he’s into. But for Frank, his main interest is robbery, but since the robot isn’t programmed to know right from wrong, he helps Frank with minor robbery plans.
The first thing I really got from this movie was that Frank is from my generation, or even a bit younger. When I figured that out, I had a mini freak out like “AH I’M GONNA BE OLD SOME DAY”. After that, I started paying attention to all the little “futuristic” things they wrote into the movie, like books are trendy again and Frank’s kids are named Hunter and Madison. I thought they did a pretty great job of making the movie clearly in the future but not too Tron-like. And thanks to a little montage of current robot helper prototypes at the end of the movie, the story seems even more realistic.
All that future stuff aside, the movie was pretty great, the story was very personal, and Frank Langella is just a wonderful actor. The rest of the cast (Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler, James Marsden and Peter Sarsgaard as the robot) were also really great to watch, they all complimented each other. Frank as a character was kind pretty spot on as a senior version of people my age. The filmmakers seem to be making a frank (pardon the pun) comment on the completely self involved mentality. At one point, Frank sees a clear reflection of himself through the robot and he doesn’t like what he sees. He’s shocked by his own motivations and choices, which makes sense based on what we know about him, but I don’t find this really far fetched for people in general. What I got from that realization was that, maybe if you’re going to be so self involved, have a really good look at what you’re doing and what you’ve made your life into. Maybe you need a robot to spell it out for you too. I really enjoyed this movie, it was super smart and introspective and surprisingly funny!