User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 60
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 60
  3. Negative: 3 out of 60

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  1. 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 near future), which is greeted with disdain
  2. Aug 25, 2012
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. We were surprised to find the director of the film addressing our audience last night before it started, which was a treat. He said he wouldn't be able to stay for questions at the end, but that the answers would be Yes, No, and There's A Girl Inside the Robot. I'm actually really glad he told us that in advance because I know that would have bugged me the whole way. Frank Langella is terrific in this role, and his relationship with the robot is touching. Not sappy or over-the-top, but you feel for him. It's set in the future, but other than some video phone calls, it's not distracting. There's also a serious and excellent twist toward the end which sheds some emotional light on the family's struggles with Frank's dementia. Expand
  3. Oct 23, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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. Expand
  4. Feb 17, 2013
    9
    Langella delivers with this top notch performance. The robot serves as a reminder of the human condition and how we all grow old. Everybody needs a friend or companion. The plot is simple but moves carefully to the climax. A fantastic movie that will have you reaching for your phone to call your parents.
  5. Apr 23, 2013
    6
    All the trailers for Robot and Frank displayed the film as a picture about a retired burglar and his return to stealing thanks to the help of his new robot. However the most important part they missed out is the fact that this is a film that is mostly about senility and the things we lose as we get old and in Frank's case its his memories. The film follows Frank (Frank Langella) as he struggles to live alone and take care of himself. To help his son (James Marsden) buys him a helper robot who he decides to re purpose into helping him resume his early career in burglary as a way of proving to himself and those around him he isn't past his prime. In a film that tries so hard to know where it is going its odd to know that much like with Frank, the 3rd act is a blur of incoherent thoughts and ideas that collapse in on themselves due to poor plotting. The film attempts to portray Frank as endearing yet grouchy really just makes him a bit unlikable but Langella manages to inject some of his charm to offset the problem. Liv Tyler while better in this than in most of her work still doesn't quite belong with her character feeling more like a plot point, more like one side of an argument than a real live person. What saves the film from being a mess of good ideas and bad execution is the wonderful relationships such as Frank's interaction with his robot, but most of all in his interaction with his son because that is where most of the films emotion an power comes from and Marsden is more than up to the challenge. Susan Sarandon makes a good foil for Frank but ultimately this is a film about a man losing everything about himself and struggling to come to terms with it while fighting for what little time he has left so it isn't really a film about meeting someone new and settling down, its a film about holding onto the idea of meeting someone new, the idea that Frank's life is still his own and not being consumed by a brain that doesn't work the way it should and because of this it is a heartbreaking emotional picture well worth watching despite its disappointing ending. Expand
  6. Oct 31, 2012
    9
    This is not a robot movie--it is very much about people who love, age, cope. It is beautifully done, light in tone but finally very moving. Ig's a shame that some people are avoiding it because its title suggests a science fiction film to them. Langella is fine in an unusual role for him, and Susan Sarandon has a transcendent moment near the end. Highly recommended.
  7. Aug 31, 2012
    8
    Sometimes you walk into a movie not expecting much and when it says
  8. Aug 27, 2012
    9
    What a delightful, surprising and resonant first film about aging, dementia, and the ambivalent prospect of robotic care of the elderly to have emerged from the collaboration of a youthful screenwriter (Christopher Ford) and director (Jake Schreier). This deceptively modest film is blessed by a tour-de-force performance by the brilliant Frank Langella complemented by a dream team supporting cast and a whimsical mechanical contraption brought to eerie cybourg life by Peter Saarsgard's pitch-perfect robotic voice. With nary a moment of violence or nudity, it manages to be simultaneously amusing, provocative and edifying. A little gem of a timely film appropriate for all ages. Collapse
  9. Sep 3, 2012
    9
    Enjoyable from beginning to end. Great performance from Frank Langella. Finally a good movie without blood, explosions, dead people! If only there were more . . .
  10. Sep 7, 2012
    3
    This movie didn't seem to know where to go next. It was choppy, muddled, and tiresome. The characters were two-dimensional, the plot was tediously predictable, the humor flat. Liv Tyler was hugely irritating as the well-intentioned daughter. I'm amazed this film has garnered so many glowing reviews. Very disappointing.
  11. Feb 13, 2013
    7
    A very sweet and simple movie. Id call it a masterpiece if it had a bit more content to it.
  12. May 2, 2013
    7
    Robot and Frank has a lot of great comedic scenes between Frank and the robot and despite the lack of emotional connection, I would recommend seeing this film for those scenes.
  13. Jul 27, 2013
    6
    Another one that Slant gets wrong. This is a small film, and it makes no claims to being anything other than that. As such, we're free to watch a master actor, Langella, at work. (Needless to say, the good folks over at Slant don't have much patience with films that don't go Pow and Zap).
  14. Jul 29, 2014
    10
    Possibly one of my favorite films. It has a great cast and lots of charm, has this great nostalgic feeling to it and awe inspiring soundtrack. What can I say? I love this movie.
  15. chw
    Jul 19, 2014
    7
    Robot & Frank was an alright movie. It's not what I expected, but it wasn't a complete waste of time watching it. Frank Langella was a great actor, so was Susan Sarandon. But then there was Liv Tyler...
  16. Mar 17, 2014
    8
    Great film with a great, touching story. Frank's relationship with the robot was both inspiring and depressing. Frank's relationship with his children seemed inconsistent, at it was never really clear whether or not they even liked each other. It also seemed to base Frank's character too much on old age stereotypes. Aside from the inconsistencies and unoriginal character portrayal, it was still an excellent film. Expand
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.