Robot & Frank (2012)


In this movie set in the not-too-distant future, Frank Langella stars as an aging ex-burglar whose grown son (James Marsden) buys him a caretaker robot. At first Frank isn’t too fond of his mechanical companion, but when he learns he can get the robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to learn his old criminal behavior and help in a few local heists, an unlikely friendship is born. Robot & Frank is a light-hearted drama with a slight sci-fi twist. I like that it deals with some heady topics — like human displacement by technology and the value of human connection — without getting too heavy-handed. Langella is reliably terrific playing a character slipping into dementia with regrets about how absent he was in the lives of his children. Liv Tyler co-stars as his adult daughter, and Susan Sarandon plays a librarian love interest. The third act might get a little more complicated than it needs to, but Robot & Frank is a refreshingly weird movie and a modestly entertaining one, anchored by Langella’s subtly moving performance. With Jeremy Sisto and Jeremy Strong. Written by Christopher Ford (Chaos Walking, Spider-Man: Homecoming), directed by Jake Schreier (Paper Towns, Brand New Cherry Flavor).