Indie gem ‘Robot & Frank’ is acting showcase for Langella

Frank Langella in ‘Robot & Frank.’ Rated PG-13, 89 min. Samuel Goldwyn Films, 2012.

After making a splash on the film festival circuit, “Robot & Frank” has opened in theaters nationwide, delivering a bite-sized but brawny acting showcase from star Frank Langella. In this tightly-focused character study set in the near future, Frank (played by Langella) is an aging man with memory problems. His son (James Marsden) gives him a robot (calmly voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to act as his helpful companion, homemaker and nurse.

It turns out that Frank is an ex-con jewel thief, and he quickly goes from resenting the robot to using it as a safe-cracking accomplice. Add in a daughter (Liv Tyler) who favors robots’ rights, and a librarian (Susan Sarandon) fancied by Frank, and you have an amusing, insightful comedy-drama with all the marks of an indie charmer. Langella is better than ever – a master of realism.

A twist in the final act makes all of the plot lines connect a little too tidily, and unfortunately in retrospect it makes a good part of the film hard to swallow. Nevertheless, it poses questions about friends, family and life in old age that deserve an audience.

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.