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on 29 March 2013
Everyone's familiar with the concepts behind a buddy movie: two wildly different characters are thrown together to fight injustice/ unite against a common foe etc and hilarity ensues en route. On that front, Robot & Frank is no different to any other buddy movie but for me, was something a little bit special.

Oscar nominated actor Frank Langella is fantastic as the aging burglar and his performance is truly touching. For me however, I will always remember him as Skeletor in the Masters of the Universe movie and at times when he spoke during this film, that's all I could picture!

The Robot of the title is voiced by Peter Sarsgaard and is in effect, the straight man in this buddy movie. Governed by Asimovian laws, Robot is eventually, perhaps inevitably, led astray by Frank...

Robot & Frank has at its core, the very serious and real issue of the on-set of dementia and manages to handle this subject matter in a sensitive way, without being demeaning to those who suffer from the condition. I went to see this with my girlfriend, expecting a quirky and charming film with a bit of sci-fi thrown in. I wasn't disappointed on that front but from the trailer, I hadn't expected the Alzheimer's aspect of the story. Given that my girlfriend's grandfather suffered from this, it resulted in quite a few tears in the cinema.

However, a stellar cast, great story and all in all, a memorable movie!
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The first thing to say is that this film`s heart is in a good place, it`s not quite like anything you`ll have seen before, and I`d watch Frank Langella just doing the shopping or eating a meal.
It almost pulls off the trick of having, at his son`s insistence, a robot move in with Frank (Langella in dignified elderly mode - this vigorous, soulful actor was already 74 at the time of filming) and gradually gain his confidence, as well as a kind of friendship.
Where it scores is in allowing us to take for granted a near-contemporary world in which robots can cheerfully do the gardening or cook dinner. Langella acts with the robot (perfectly voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) as if it were the most normal thing in the world. There are no ironic `nudges` to the audience, and mercifully few moments of rom-com sentimentality, though the film does not avoid gravitating towards an inevitable soft centre, especially in its final scenes.
Susan Sarandon underplays and is lovely as a librarian whom Frank befriends - and thereby hangs a tale, which might have been made more of - with Liv Tyler making a too rare appearance these days as Madison, his daughter. (I wish someone would give Liv a whacking good role in a film, where she could show what she`s really capable of.)
The film has a nice, measured pace to it, and Langella is such a joy to watch that a certain lack of dramatic tension at times isn`t too much to put up with.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, the film loses itself a little towards the end, and the last few minutes left me unsatisfied, even a tad confused. It was left both too tidily wrapped-up and too open-ended.
Frank Langella is one of the most undervalued of American actors - though he`s a rather bigger name in the States - and the film is worth seeing for 90 minutes of this formidable, humane, haunting, slightly otherworldly actor having what looks like the time of his life. He`s very funny too - his timing impeccable - without ever overdoing it.
A subtle, offbeat film, flawed, but well worth watching.
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on 22 August 2014
I've been stuck in bed for the past week recovering from surgery for a fractured ankle. (Happened while I was showing my 9-year old son how to bunny hop on his new stunt scooter... DOH!)

Anyway, I've been trawling Amazon Prime looking for a half decent film that I haven't seen yet... slim pickings!

I've been getting increasingly sick and tired of brainless action movies, big-budget blockbusters and overly 'slick & stylised' thrillers - feel asleep during the last one I watched this afternoon, despite the high-speed camera work, pyrotechnics and special effects.

This evening I wanted something different to keep me totally occupied for a few more hours - but not an Indie-film 'snooze fest' ... the opiate based medication I'm on for my ankle would have endured I missed the latter half of anything less than totally engaging.

Luckily I stumbled on 'Robot & Frank', a title I remember had a great review in Empire magazine. Something about an elderly ex-Jewel thief, living on his own who gets a Robot to look after him. (I admit the synopsis didn't make me rush to watch it, but like I say, after the stupid formulaic action movies I've been watching, anything was worth a try this evening!)

And what a treat! Robot & Frank is without doubt one of the best films I've seen in a long long time.

Lots of laugh out loud moments, perfectly blended with poignant and genuinely touching surprises that result in a film watching experience which surpasses any I've had in a long time.

I never realised what a good actor Frank Langella is either. I've seen him in plenty of other films, but this one really lets him shine.

He gives a completely believable performance - which is saying something when his co-star who he spends a lot of the movie talking to is a faceless robot.

I won't spoil the ending but I'll be amazed if it doesn't put a lump in your throat.

If you're sick and tired of brainless big-budget blockbusters, give this a try instead - I promise you'll be very pleasantly surprised.
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bot & Frank' is a film of quiet understanding and under statements. Frank, played by Frank Langella,is a retired burglar and lives by himself in upstate New York. He seems to have some form of dementia, but just how much is a secret from us all. His son comes to visit once a week to clean up and bring groceries. During the week Frank walks to and fro to the library for books. He keeps in touch with his family via FaceTime on his big TV. His son needs more time with his family, so he brings Frank a robot who cleans and cooks and looks after Frank. Much resistance from Frank at first, but soon they are a pair. The robot keeps him on a low sodium diet and plans activities, like a garden and walking in the woods. An idyllic existence, until Frank decides to go back to his old profession.

I have to say I will be first in line for this robot, cleaning and cooking, wow! The robot has to remind Frank that he is a robot with no feelings, programmed to help out. That said, a relationship of sorts seems to develop. Frank visits the library often, and limes the librarian a great deal. Now, that relationship is weird. You will see what I mean.

Frank fools us in many ways, crafty fella that he is. Frank seems pretty much together many times, but then he forgets easily. A remarkable bit of acting by Frank Langella. This film is really a fun and emotional film. I enjoyed it, but it seemed far fetched to me in many ways. However, an entertaining film and well acted.

Recommended. 11-22-13
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on 26 February 2014
Highly enjoyable film that is well acted and shot and moves along at a steady pace.

Not going to spoil it but basically a retired jewel thief in his twilight years is given a robot to help with his domestic chores but they team up for one more heist. Fantastic. One of those little gems of a story (and film) that come along every now and then.

Would highly recommend this film and I found it engrossing and highly enjoyable, it being a bit different from the rest.

Now if only I could work out how to make the hoover raid the ATM machines.............
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on 13 April 2013
This film is a delight. Something you will hear a lot no doubt, but in this case it is true.

Frank Langella plays a retired jewel thief. His memory is going with the onset of alzheimers. So his son decides to get him a robot helper, to keep him active and help give him a routine.

It is a strange buddy film, in that the robot becomes Frank's lifeline to his old life. Allowing him to undertake jewel heists again by teaching the robot to pick locks and how to avoid detection.

There is a lovely back story to it too. And a gentle a beautifully played love story between Frank and the lady librarian whos library is being closed to create a futuristic media center.

In equal parts touching, sad, beautiful and uplifting. A wonderful film. Something that just doesnt happen very often any more.
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on 28 May 2013
Robot & Frank is a film that really took me by surprise. I had free cinema tickets and it looked interesting enough, even if the plot sounded a bit bizarre. Yes, the premise of an ageing thief being given a robot helper by his son is a bit unusual - even potentially awful - but the script is so warm that it all hangs together perfectly. Even when it heads towards predictability there are a little twists that put it back onto the indie path, and it's a movie that is at times both sad and funny, which is not any easy combination to pull off in any genre let alone such cliche-ridden fields as sci-fi & heist flicks.

There was a significant danger that everything could become terribly schmaltzy, but the end result is in fact charming and endearing. Robot & Frank won't be to everyone's taste, but in my opinion it's a little gem of a movie that I'm so glad to have chanced upon.
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on 17 November 2015
Bought this DVD as it was recommended by a work colleague. It held my interest although it had few funny moments for me. More of an amusing tale than a laugh out loud one. Another one of those films where I can't help thinking its a good enough idea, but not made to reach its potential. Meant to be set in the not too distant future but, apart from the robots, the only advancement is the self-opening boot in the main character's son's Audi. Don't they have that already?
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on 5 May 2014
This is a touching exploration of what a man in the elder years of his life is going through in his retirement - but it avoids the usual stereotypes. Frank is not a stereotypical pensioner - he is a retired burglar.

It is an odd-couple movie with a twist - the twist here is that his new buddy is a robot, not a robot that is intelligent like C3-PO or Data from Star Trek, but something more likely to be made as a consumer product in the near future. It says something about the script that you can believe a friendship is developing between a man and what is essentially a high tech appliance, albeit with a programmed personality.

Good for a Sunday evening film when you want to watch something a bit more light-hearted.
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on 27 February 2013
An intriguing & original film with an excellent lead performance from Frank Langella as the aging, ex-convict striking up an unlikely friendship with a robot given to him by his son to help with the household chores & gardening! But Frank has other plans for the robot when he realises that he is able to teach & manipulate his new found friend.

With a great supporting cast including Susan Sarandon & Peter Sarsgaard as the voice of the robot.

Is this the future for mankind?, well maybe not just yet, but you could see it happening for sure.

Highly recommended.
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