Robot & Frank (2012)
Dir: Jake Schreier
I can fully imagine a near-future with robots helping the elderly, even more so after this!
This charming little films features some brilliant acting from a very small but talented cast. For a small-budget movie that was made apparently for just $2.5million they could have gone for a cast of TV actors, however thanks to the futuristic elements being such that could be done easily and on a tight budget, a far more stellar cast was employed.
Frank Langella stars as Frank, an elderly man with a criminal history, struggling with the onset of Alzheimer’s, but with his daughter (Liv Tyler) gallivanting off around the world for ethical causes, and his son (James Marsden) busy with his family and work, Frank is just one incident away from going into a care home. However his son thrusts upon him a robotic helper, whom Frank affectionately calls ‘Robot’, programmed to keep Frank active and help him cope with independent living. Frank eventually discovers to his delight that the Robot is not programmed to judge his kleptomaniacal habits, and so Frank trains up his new friend to assist him in a final heist.
The film shows a greatly believable vision of the near future, with no spaceships or flying cars, but rather fancy (but fully possible) projected screens, more electric cars, and of course the robots. There’s also a nice side story about libraries, and a really funny view of how they might be considered in the future as retro-chic!
I love how it’s not Issac Asimov’s rules that the robot follows, and though his programming is to be helpful and obey, he also can be reasoned with as to the best needs of his ward. However in the end, the film really says a lot more about families and the care of the elderly than it does about technology.