Robot & Frank (2012)
Starring: Frank Langella, Peter “Robot” Sarsgaard, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler
Directed by: Jake Schreier (Paper Towns; 1 episode of Alpha House)
Synopsis: Frank, a retired thief, enlists the help of his helper robot to help him robot rob on some robberies.
- Frank Langella can really turn in a terrific performance if he’s taken the proper vitamins that day. He gives off a warm presence that makes you wish for his well-being.
- Robot is one of the finest robotic actors in the business. Way better than Chappie, nearly as good as Johnny 5, and light years ahead of whatever robots were in Star Wars.
- It’s a nice, unique tale, which is an endangered species in Hollywood these days.
- Susan Sarandon is also very sweet, and is still a hot number at age 96.
What Doesn’t Work:
- I understand that Frank doesn’t want his children to dictate his life, but how could you not love having a robot? Frank is a little too much of a wiener about it at first.
- (Huge spoiler here) A big twist at the end is that the lady Frank is pining over the whole time, Jennifer, turns out to be his ex-wife and the mother of his children, and he didn’t remember because of Alzheimer’s. But she’s very flippant in their interactions throughout the movie, like they really haven’t had a prior relationship, and this is just so that twist is more jarring, but you’d think she’d act more concerned and melancholy about it. Not a huge gripe, but I just found it weird.
Overall: This is a public service announcement: Robot & Frank will be leaving the Netflix Instant airwaves on May 12 (US, at least), so if you want to check it out, you’d better get on the stick. It’s really a great little movie that has pretty much gone overlooked. It’s poignant yet funny and really makes you feel for both Frank and Robot. And if you pay attention, you’ll pick up some useful burglary tips. Hopefully they’ll greenlight the sequel, R.O.T.O.R. & Frank.
Score: 8 beans and franks (out of 10)