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Robot & Frank: A Down To Earth Sci-Fi Film

MAYRA MARADIAGA, Featured Writer

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Machines in movies have often been presented in an “us vs. them” framework, which involves lots of destruction. However, Robot & Frank demonstrates what happens when robots can be used for their owner’s benefit.

This independent film set in the future follows the story of an ex-jewel thief suffering from dementia who has received a robot caretaker from his son. At first, main character Frank (Frank Langella) hates the idea of having to be looked after, mainly because he hasn’t been able to give up his kleptomaniac tendencies.

However, once Frank learns that his new robot companion doesn’t have any moral or ethical thoughts about stealing, Frank begins to warm up to the robot, considering him his new heist partner for the series of burglaries he has in mind.

The human-robot duo makes an odd couple, yet the relationship they build adds emotion to the film in the best way possible.

The strong casting in this film helps support the complex plot laid out. Langella is nothing short of exceptional playing the main protagonist. With the ability to showcase different emotions by just his facial expressions and not uttering a word in certain instances, Langella makes the audience empathize with his character, and root for him to pull through in the end.

Alongside Langella is the robot, voiced by Peter Saarsgard, who manages to steal the scene in many occasions using his dry wit and the perfect sense of comedy that screenwriter Christopher D. Ford paired with the caretaking machine. The rest of the supporting cast, including James Marsden, Liv Tyler, and Susan Sarandon, are presented in the film to mainly focus on Frank’s failing memory, yet are able to stand on their own.

While a film about a human and robot pair could go wrong in countless ways, Robot & Frank manages to present a funny, thoughtful, and heartfelt story about aging and the future that may one day be our reality. Though it may be a film aimed for older audiences, it is to be enjoyed by all.

Robot & Frank is available for streaming on Netflix.

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