Robot and Frank

Robot & Frank

****

I don’t want to become an old single man. That sounds like a lonely, difficult, unhealthy way to live.

There were a lot of good reasons for me to marry my wife, but making sure that I don’t end up old and alone was definitely on the list.

Unfortunately for Frank (Frank Langella), he didn’t plan ahead. He spent his younger years having wild fun and committing felonies. Now he’s a divorced ex-con living by himself in a dirty house – slowly losing his mind.

Lucky for Frank it is the near future and he has a rich son. Instead of sending him to a retirement home, Frank’s son buys him a new Robot.

“Robot & Frank” is an upbeat comedy/90 minute robot commercial about how the Robot changes Frank’s life for the better. It’s like a modern Stanley Kubrick film. If Kubrick were still alive. And on a lot of Prozac.

The Robot walks and talks and learns. Robot cleans up Frank’s house and wakes him up every morning to keep him on a healthy routine of Robot-cooked breakfasts and light exercise.

But what really wins Frank over is that Robot is willing to learn how to pick locks and help Frank plan burglaries. Frank finds a new reason to live and Robot rightly recognizes that the criminal activity is keeping Frank’s mind and body active.

The scenes where Frank and the Robot plan and execute their heists together are wonderful.

First, they are delightfully witty and entertaining.

Second, they make a convincing argument that the Robot is truly a positive force in Frank’s life.

At the dawn of the 20th Century, utopian thinkers assumed that the Industrial Revolution would bring huge advancements in justice, equality, order, civility, and peace. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

What the Industrial Revolution did bring is never ending improvement in technology. And while our modern world is still unfair, chaotic, and violent, there is no denying the fact that our computers, tablets, and iPhone5s are remarkable technological achievements. And there is little doubt that the future will bring even more amazing advancements.

When I am old, I hope more than anything that my wife is there by my side. If she is not, though, I’m going to get me one of those robots!

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