“Robot & Frank” is a small character film about a retired cat burglar and the robotic healthcare assistant purchased to assist him with his day to day activities. So when the retired burglar decides that he can use the robot to assist him with his day to day duties of cat burglaring, he comes out of retirement for his some good old fashion heisting. Meanwhile he tries to impress a lovely librarian and also has to deal with his oft-absent yet well meaning children who have different views on the use of robotic help aids.
This is an interesting movie because it is science fiction without really having to be so different or implausible. It is sci-fi like “Her” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” movies which use their science fiction premise to tell the stories of characters and their relationships to one another. And the fact that the main character is played by someone with the gravitas and talent, specifically Frank Langella, doesn’t hurt at all. He makes the character of Frank seem real and vital and he makes us care about him even though he comes across initially as an old curmudgeonly fogey.
It helps that he breaks down over time and ends up enjoying the company of the well meaning robot and they have some cutesy interactions that one would expect from such a pairing. But be warned that this movie does end up getting a little heavy towards the end, as the story does also kind of have to deal with the little fact that Frank is dealing with a deteriorating mental state so it gets kinda sad, but hey, it can’t all be cute robot interactions with crotchety yet lovable old humans.
Check out “Robot & Frank” right here on the Netflix Instant and enjoy the old man interacting with cute robot fun (and drama, don’t forget the drama).