Man meets RAM

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

HE story of a robot and an old man los­ing his me­mory, Robot & Frank is a hard, funny and real­is­tic look at the fu­ture.

Frank Lan­gella has cre­ated some im­pres­sive per­for­mances ( Start­ing Out in the Evening, Frost/ Nixon), but in some ways, his role here as Frank is his best show­case yet.

Lan­gella car­ries most of the film’s hu­mour – con­sid­er­able, though quiet and sub­tle. He is at all times show­ing us who this char­ac­ter is, what he is be­com­ing and who he used to be. It’s a beau­ti­ful per­for­mance in a movie that hap­pily seems at no point try­ing to be beau­ti­ful.

The world of Robot & Frank could be 20 years from now, or with the way tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing, it could be 10. One hint of the time frame is that Su­san Saran­don plays a friend of Frank’s named Jen­nifer. Saran­don is 65, but most of the world’s Jen­nifers are cur­rently in their 40s. This movie takes place at a not-too-dis­tant time when the most pop­u­lar name on So­cial Se­cu­rity files is Jen­nifer.

Frank (Lan­gella), in his 70s, suf­fers from two ma­jor ail­ments – he’s in the early stages of de­men­tia and he’s bored stiff. Frank’s son (James Mars­den) brings the robot along as a kind of health aid for Dad. Voiced by Peter Sars­gaard, it cooks, cleans and even gives en­e­mas on re­quest.

Hap­pily, Robot & Frank doesn’t turn into the sen­ti­men­tal story of a man, a robot and their groovy kind of love. Screen­writer Christo­pher Ford and first-time fea­ture di­rec­tor Jake Schreier are far too shrewd to take short­cuts into cliche.

In­stead, the film boasts an imag­i­na­tive plot, with in­ter­est­ing turns and mo­ments of sus­pense as it touches on the pre­cious­ness of me­mory – hu­man and ar­ti­fi­cial.

Frank Lan­gella in

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