Random Access Memories
In the near future robots are a part of every day life and books are becoming a relic of the past. Elderly Frank spends his days alone, walking into town to cause trouble and flirt with the librarian. One day his concerned son shows up with an android to help his father stay healthy and keep him company. Did I mention that Frank also used to be a cat burglar… and the robot can pick locks?
Robot and Frank is a surprisingly deep look into family dynamics and memory loss in a future that is maybe only a decade off. Frank Langella puts in an amazing performance as Frank, who in his old age, is given a robot to look after him by his son (James Marsden).
What starts off as simple housework, healthy meals, and trips to the soon to be closed library, soo turns into old habits as Frank and his new buddy find trouble coming their way.
Susan Sarandon also turns in a solid performance as the librarian winding things down at the end of the analog age. Guest performances by Liv Tyler and Ana Gesteyer also add some fun scenes.
Finally, Peter Sarsgaard as the voice of the robot somehow manages to convey a strange robotic emotion despite his monotone delivery. Maybe I’m just projecting, but similar to Data on Star Trek TNG, there is a human-ness that is there, which makes the ending really hit home.
The world seen in Robot and Frank is right on the horizon, and the picture it paints is bittersweet. The irony is that this story of the near future shows us how powerful memories can be.