Starring: Frank Langella, Peter Saragaard (Voice), Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler
Directed by Jake Schreier
Run Time: 89 mins
Genre: Comedy/ Drama
Opens Friday August 31, 2012
By Lisa Minzey
Hey Phoenix Film Fans, if you didn’t get a chance to see Robot & Frank when it played at this year’s festival, it’s now playing in theaters! This film won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and also opened the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival.
Taking care of an aging parent can be difficult, especially when that parent is stubborn and is displaying signs of dementia, like Frank (Frank Langella). Set in the near future, technology has advanced to where robots have replaced people for the mundane tasks like filing or to more time consuming jobs, like caretakers. Frank refuses to leave his home, so as a last ditch effort to help his father; Hunter (James Marsden) gets him a Robot (Peter Sarsgaard- voice) helper to be his full time caretaker. Hunter lives far from Frank and his sister Madison (Liv Tyler) is a world away, leaving Frank pretty much on his own. At least with the robot, Hunter can have peace of mind knowing that his father is being looked after.
Frank, at first hates having the robot around as it makes him stick to a routine; eat healthy, be active and encouraging him to find activities to keep his mind sharp. Before Robot was forced upon his life, Frank would fill his time with activities like shoplifting soap from his former diner hangout, which is now a fancy boutique. He walks to town to keep active and visits the library to pick up new books and to hit on the librarian, Jennifer (Susan Sarandon).
Now that he’s stuck with Robot, Frank is inspired by his former occupation to keep his mind sharp. In his younger days, Frank was a jewel thief that spent some time in jail for his “projects”. Now, he has his sights on a set of rare, old books in the library, and he needs Robot’s help to break in to get them. Frank promises to teach Robot everything he knows and the robot being obedient obliges.
The first heist is a success, but it also puts him back on the law enforcement’s radar. Frank, feeling good about the first job, starts planning his next heist; this time his target is the wealthy yuppie couple that is turning his beloved library into a digital community experience. The more time passes, the more that Frank grows fonder of Robot and comes to rely on it more and more. Will Frank be able to pull of his next job with Robot without a hitch, or has too much time passed, that he’s not capable even with the technological assistance to pull this heist off? If Frank is unable to pull the job off, he runs the risk of getting caught, losing Robot and other dire consequence. Is he willing to risk it all or settle down in his golden years with Robot at his side?
An unconventional buddy film that is amusing, endearing and enjoyable to watch for the younger and older generations. This film is not one to be missed when it comes to a theater near you starting August 31st in Phoenix.