Frank Langella is a talented actor who has never let me down in any role I have seen him play. In Robot and Frank (2012), he plays Frank Weld, a stubborn, secretly lonely, aging, retired jewel thief, who has developed dementia. His son, Hunter, having difficulties deciding how to deal with his father’s situation as anyone would, buys him a robot that can assist him day to day. Set in the near future, robots are readily available for the average consumer. Frank resists the robots presence, and insists that he is fine and doesn’t need such a thing around the house, becoming even more hateful of it when the robot tries to change his eating habits.
Spending enough time with the robot though, Frank catches on to a major defect. The robot isn’t programed to understand legal from illegal, and this gives Frank an excellent opportunity to re-live his past with his new electronic partner.
Some movies are so “out of this world” that we might not even fully understand their fictional complexity. Robot and Frank however, portrays a fictitious story in such a real way. It’s as if we have been invited in to Franks life to better understand his story. As is the case with the older generation today, he is leery of the worlds modern technology and upset with the radical changes to his surrounding environment. Change, no matter how old you are, can be tough.
What speaks to me most about this movie, is the connection that Frank eventually forms with his robot. Once loathing of the machine trying to ruin his life, he comes to think of the robot as a friend, forming a connection with it that would normally only be associated with a another human. I can’t spoil the movie, but this connection formed makes for an emotional ending that has us feeling what Frank feels.
This movie isn’t action pact, thrilling, or suspenseful…It’s simply great, in that it allows us to see our human emotions in action. The love of a son, to a father, to a robot. Does our future include forming emotional ties to robots? It really is an interesting topic.