Robot and Frank

WHILE Robot and Frank might feel like a filmaimed at our older generation, there is much to enjoy for anyone who mightoccasionally be frustrated by the cynical modern world.

The film allows a subtlebalance of laughs, romance and sadness with a quirky sci-fi twist.

Frank Langella plays Frank,a divorced senior living a life of solitude in rural New York. Between visitsand video calls from his children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler), who areconcerned for his seemingly deteriorating mental state, Frank spends his sparetime visiting the local library to flirt with the librarian (Susan Sarandon)and by shoplifting various soaps from the store which occupies the site of hisfavourite restaurant.

His little moments ofdefiance in the face of change establish earlier, none more so than when hisson arrives with a new robot caregiver.

As might be expected, Frankis none too thrilled with the prospect of a robot babysitter, in the form ofthe VGC-60L humanoid.

Langella is strong as thetitle character of Frank, coming across poignant as the surly ex-con who isbeginning to lose his memory.

The film’s supporting castplays in well to establish Frank’s present and past. Sarandon radiates analmost beautiful sadness as the lonely librarian in a changing world. Tyler andMarsden work well to portray the grown-up kids who do not have the time to lookafter their father and his worsening condition.

In a standout role, PeterSarsgaard bring a perfect sense of comedy and real life validation as the voiceof the robot, complete with enough dry wit to steal the scene on a number ofoccasions.

A clever subtext runsthroughout Robot and Frank, commenting on the loss of personality in thedigital age as well as the disposable nature of modern life.

As we come more to rely on technologyfor everything – from our reading material to aged care, we give rise to ageneration of privileged but purposeless people.

Robot and Frank highlightsthe fragility but also the value of a mind filled with life experience andskills.

Sadly, the film does notmove with ease, there are a number of long parts that don’t appear to resolvemuch in the end – but to its credit, Robot and Frank has a number of funnyscenes.

This time, the thrust ofthe film is not about the sci-fi technology, but instead Frank, his conditionand his relationships. Aside from a few problems, the script is smart and makesthe film worth a look.

Robot and Frank, Rated M, 3stars

Robot and Frank

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