Robot & Frank (2013)

This film came as a surprise for me as it took what I thought the tone of the film would be and it changed and rallied heavily towards Alzheimer’s that it was jarring and meant that I was in for an emotional roller coaster.

The film starts out extremely hilarious but throughout the run time, the hilarity dwindles as the serious aspects start to take control of the story but there is still the occasional fantastic joke to break up all the heavy hearted subject matter.

‘Robot & Frank’ could have been a quirky indie comedy and no one would have bat an eyelid, but it chose to exceed expectations and really drive home that Frank, played fantastically by Frank Langella, relies on this robot to give him purpose. To see the friendship between Frank and the robot is not only heart-warming, but very believable and that is due to the fantastic script as well as the performances. ‘Robot & Frank’ has very clever written dialogue, especially between Frank and the robot, but it is delivered so naturally that it doesn’t come off as snooty, it just works.

Shockingly there are some slight story twists in the film that I honestly did not see coming and it just enriched the whole film so much that even if you knew the twist you could still enjoy the film in a different way. I have not watched it a second time yet but I have a feeling that watching it again, with what I know happens, will make the film seem much more warm and genuine, if that were even possible.

Now, ‘Robot & Frank’ isn’t a perfect film, as like most films it has its issues, the biggest issue for me being the inclusion of Jake, played by Jeremy Strong, a hipster, new age prick basically that obviously, doesn’t get along with Frank whom is stuck in his old ways. I understand that the writer felt the need for an actual protagonist but what I don’t understand is why he had to be as much of an obvious prick, after all he is the victim in the film. Another problem I had with the film is the inclusion of Liv Tyler’s character, Franks daughter, Madison. She was extremely annoying in her stance against the robot and the sudden change of heart was bad writing in my opinion.

If a character flew half way across the world because she is adamantly against robot helpers changes their mind after one day with Frank then what was the point of including her in the story? It doesn’t help that Liv Tyler is not doing her best work here, she is by far the weakest of the cast and in a cast list as strong as this, one weak link stands out immensely. My final problem is about a certain character not getting a resolution that I am sure many who watched the film wanted though I suspect that was intentional, yet no matter how intentional it still left me partly unsatisfied.

I liked that this was set ‘In the near future’ and that not much had changed besides the introduction of robots and a few more advancements in technology. It was a grounded and realistic future, there were no flying cars or teleporting machines, it was done so well and a lot of it was quite subtle in that aspect.

You should absolutely watch ‘Robot & Frank’ it is a heart-warming and well told story surrounded by some fantastic performances and some beautiful aesthetics, you will not regret spending 90 minutes of your life on this film.


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