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Robot & Frank

Year: 2012
Production Co: Dog Run pictures
Director: Jake Schreier
Writer: Christopher D Ford
Cast: Frank Langella, Peter Sarsgaard, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler

While Her and Transcendence have grabbed all the headlines when it comes to movies about the connection between man and machine, this sweet and cute little story about technology giving a man his purpose back was mostly ignored.

Frank (Langella) is a cranky old man in the near future, a former jewel thief who doesn't want to admit he's losing his marbles and might not be able to live alone much longer.

His loving but frustrated son (Marsden) buys him a robot helper to do housework, keep Frank on the straight and narrow with his diet and generally keep watch over him.

Frank's initially as belligerent and stubborn as he can possibly be, but the robot (voiced by Sarsgaard) isn't the least bit fazed, and its dedication to him gradually wins Frank over.

Pretty soon, Frank convinces Robot that it will keep his mind active and healthy if he starts robbing again, and his first target is a priceless first edition at the local library. It's being closed down and turned into a digital art gallery, and while Frank's been going there he's befriended the attractive clerk (Sarandon), herself a product of a bygone era that's outlived her usefulness and the subject of a surprising twist.

Stealing the rare book and then targeting the home of the gallery's snide new hipster director indeed brings Frank to life again, and he finds in his robot the kind of friend he really needs, one his son and anti-technology daughter (Tyler) never could have been.

There's probably a lot of subtext about the way we respond to technology and us to it, but like Jonze said about Her, it's not a story about technology, it about an friendship coming from the most unexpected places. A great cast fill a kind-of adorable movie that deserved much more attention than it got.

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