Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 22, 2012
    63
    This is a framework that could have benefitted from more irony and complexity, especially with the resources of Langella, but at the end, I felt the movie was too easily satisfied.
  2. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 17, 2012
    75
    The feature directorial debut of Jake Schreier, has a smart script by C.D. Ford and an impressive supporting cast.
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 22, 2012
    83
    Robot & Frank is sentimental high-concept fluff that works.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    It also addresses questions of aging and neglect that Hollywood likes to run from. Langella, who's played everyone from Dracula to Nixon onscreen, is giving a master class in acting. Enroll now.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 23, 2012
    100
    A hard, funny and realistic movie about the future.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 24, 2012
    75
    Langella's performance turns what might have been a "Twilight Zone"-style trifle into something more: a movie about a proud, ornery man combating his fearfulness.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 23, 2012
    40
    The concept is schematic and predictable, and watching first-rate actors - the cast includes Susan Sarandon as a local librarian - doing third-rate material is a dubious pleasure.
  8. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 23, 2012
    80
    Everything about Robot & Frank is as unlikely as it is irresistible. Charming, playful and sly, it makes us believe that a serene automaton and a snappish human being can be best friends forever.
  9. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 23, 2012
    75
    It's an Alzheimer's allegory, full of humanity, heart, and humor.
  10. 70
    Robot & Frank, like its protagonist, is charming enough to get by with the sleight-of-hand. Its irresponsibility redeems it - it's a raspberry blown against the dying of the light.
  11. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Aug 16, 2012
    60
    Frank Langella plays so many variations on cute and crotchety and with such suppleness - he's by turns a charming codger, a silver fox and a wise graybeard - that his performance comes close to a saving grace.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 16, 2012
    80
    Robot & Frank is such a sly, dry, modest-seeming picture – part science fiction, part social satire, part geriatric comedy – that you don't realize how well it works until it's over.
  13. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 30, 2012
    83
    There's a terrific balance between human comedy and just-this-side-of-science-fiction in Robot & Frank.
  14. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Aug 23, 2012
    63
    Very charming but very slight.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 16, 2012
    60
    No one conveys late-life elegy and cool intellectual cunning like Langella.
  16. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Aug 18, 2012
    70
    At heart, Frank & Robot is, true to its title, a buddy movie about the complicated relationship between a thief and his mechanized sidekick (a sleek, white, helmeted creature voiced with unsettling politeness by Peter Sarsgaard). But it's also a rueful and funny reflection on aging, death, parenthood, and technology.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Aug 16, 2012
    70
    What I'm saying is that I resisted the film but it won me over, a little more than I care to admit.
  18. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Aug 11, 2012
    75
    Schreier elicits warm performances from Langella and Susan Sarandon, and even from his robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard).
  19. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 30, 2012
    80
    This is director Jake Schreier's first feature, and, working from a script by Christopher D. Ford, he creates an inviting world.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 30, 2012
    63
    Ultimately a movie that could have been a little jewel is unpolished.
  21. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Aug 29, 2012
    78
    What a weird, winning little movie is Robot & Frank, which explores what happens to the essential self as the memory goes. Oh, and it's a heist picture. With robot butlers. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like it.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 9, 2012
    60
    An enjoyable diversion, a lightweight bit of philosophizing that blends humor with the bittersweet. It won't likely stick in your memory for too terribly long.
  23. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 14, 2012
    83
    Robot and Frank succeeds where "Ted" fails because, unlike McFarlane, Schreier and Ford render the relationship between the human character and the robot in largely credible terms.
  24. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 28, 2012
    91
    Robot & Frank occasionally strains for emotion and stretches credulity, even for such fantasy circumstances. But it has two hearts - one human, one not - in the right place, and intelligence that is anything but artificial.
  25. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Aug 14, 2012
    40
    The pleasure of watching the star sling barbs at Sarsgaard's sandpaper-dry android, shyly court sexy librarian Susan Sarandon and rage against geriatric befuddlement doesn't offset what's essentially a mediocre character study dipped in sci-fi conventions and Social Security–age sentimentality.
  26. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 11, 2012
    70
    Robot & Frank reminds quirk-hardened veterans that an odd premise and big heart don't have to add up to too-precious awards bait.
  27. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Aug 23, 2012
    50
    Robot & Frank isn't sure whether it's a comedy or drama, buddy movie or sci-fi fantasy, family melodrama or social satire.
  28. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Mar 4, 2013
    80
    Forget the sci-fi trimmings and sentimental pay-off — this is a gleefully subversive character study of a charming but unapologetic rogue.
  29. Reviewed by: Ray Greene
    Aug 11, 2012
    60
    The film is light-fingered and charming.
  30. Reviewed by: Cory Everett
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    While the premise certainly makes it stand out from the sea of dysfunctional family dramas, a cute idea alone doesn't quite cut it. In the end it's just not funny enough to be completely entertaining and the sentiment feels tacked on.
  31. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Feb 16, 2013
    80
    Playful, patient and finally poignant, Schreier’s deceptively placid odd-couple winner runs the risk of looking minor. But it carefully exceeds expectation, helped in no small measure by Langella’s wily, wistful lead.
  32. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Aug 14, 2012
    25
    Christopher D. Ford's film is nothing more than a Lifetime movie dolled up in cheap Philip K. Dick drag.
  33. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 11, 2012
    70
    Debuting helmer Jake Schreier, screenwriter Christopher D. Ford and a wry and wily Frank Langella all shine in a smart, plausible and resonant film.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. Oct 23, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The world we live in, for people who suffer from Alzheimer's, must seem like a parallel universe, or worse, a planet they've never laid their eyes on, thereby making this degenerative condition a science fiction natural, with the disease's metaphoric possibilities inherent in the genre's tropes, ready-made for easy correlation. Frank, a cat burglar, to his chagrin, at the outset of Robot and Frank, robs his own house. A picture frame he picks up during the break-in reminds him of the life he forgot, and will soon forget. Hunter and Madison, now adults, posing with their father, yanks the epiphanic thief down from the ether and sets him afoot, albeit not surefootedly, on memory lane. The eidetic cataloguing of remembrances, a seemingly never-ending source of anecdotes, presupposed by people with hale minds who can access such memories, both happy and sad, in an eye blink, for the Alzheimer's sufferer, blinks shut, this mind's eye, so referential documentation, like a family snapshot, helps keep Frank's ongoing narrative linear, however precarious the psyche's ability for orthodox sequencing may be. Walking alongside the town's main drag, the sidewalk under Frank's feet, threatens to sidestep each footfall, since the pedestrian, in essence, could either be a time or space traveller, depending on the enormity of his temporal memory loss, given the day. Sometimes he's an alien; sometimes he finds a worm hole of his own making. It's the same town, Frank's face registers, but with differences he can't account for. On the phone with Hunter, the old man fends off the half-stranger's insistence that his condition is worsening. He brings up Harry's, a greasy spoon his younger self patronized as recently as a week ago. Of course, jewel thief's present is the real world's past, since his old haunt, the old man discovers, is now Blush, a boutique shop specializing in artisan soaps. Flashback, or flash-forward? That's the disorientation he feels, akin to taking a quantum leap in time, as it does for Fiona, an aging scholar's wife in Sarah Polley's Away From Her, who answers, "Well, that's shocking," when Grant, her husband, informs her that they've been living in their cottage for twenty years, not one. It's very isolation(the Hamilton, Ontario setting) has a vague science fiction feel to it, as if their home was a snowy outpost in post-apocalyptical oblivion, and they themselves were the last remaining couple on earth, and more pointedly, Fiona, the only living, breathing woman alive, especially after we learn about her husband's numerous extramarital affairs with his students in Grant's former life as a tenured professor. Fiona's condition razes the utopia that a remorseful Grant had built for his wife, leaving behind a dystopian realm of the Alzheimer's sufferer's own making, the place where she'll rematerialize, this parallel universe, once the disease consumes her former self. She'll be a copy. At a dinner party, Fiona explains, in regard to her relationship with the physical world, "I think I may be disappearing." The AD patient in Maureen McHugh's short story "Presence" once worked as an engineer at Gillette, a place where they make razor blades, a reference, presumably, to Occam's Razor, a principle based on the belief that the hypothesis which makes the fewest assumptions should be selected. In the past, this razor worked against the concept of parallel universes, but now, in due part to the rhetoric of MMI adherents, the belief that the relative state formulation has, in actuality, fewer constraints than physical theory, is starting to gain traction. Siding with the many worlds interpreters, McHugh's "Presence" establishes AD as a metaphor for parallel universes. A rarity for sci-fi films, Robot and Frank disguises its speculative elements in a pragmatic world. Its slice of life approach that recalls Robot Stories, in which the interaction between man and machine takes place in milieus so much like our own, it normalizes such fantastical technological advances as practice babies for prospective adoptive parents, and the ability for an android's synthetic "heart" to self-perpetuate love. But unlike the mechanical baby and office temp automatons, Frank's robot has no anthropomorphic qualities. Robot is not alive like 5 in Short Circuit. And yet, Frank humanizes the machine through the assignation of anthropomorphic traits, projecting his own bout with Alzheimer's onto the surrogate human, sympathizing with "it", when the robot tells him that somebody will "wipe my memory". It's no wonder Frank feels a kinship with the thing. The robot is a sort of coincidental sociopath, because similar to Frank, the machine, naturally, has no thoughts, no guilt, in regard to stealing. For Frank, pressing the robot's erase button is Alzheimer's, the whole of it. He'll forget him. And likewise, Frank will forget the librarian(Susan Sarandon). He doesn't want to. Full Review »
  2. Sep 3, 2012
    7
    Frank Langella plays a retired cat burglar who's starting to lose his memory. His concerned son buys him a service robot (this is the nearFrank Langella plays a retired cat burglar who's starting to lose his memory. His concerned son buys him a service robot (this is the near future), which is greeted with disdain Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2014
    7
    "Robot & Frank" 10 Scale Rating: 7.0 (Good) ...

    The Good: A very different take on science fiction and robotics. An interesting concept in
    "Robot & Frank" 10 Scale Rating: 7.0 (Good) ...

    The Good: A very different take on science fiction and robotics. An interesting concept in a very believable future setting. Frank Langella was amazing and I am surprised that neither he or this film garnered more attention. Perfect ending.

    The Bad: Does drag on somewhat in the middle. It felt like the writer and director had a great idea and knew how they wanted to end it, but weren't sure what to do in-between.
    Full Review »