Robot and Frank
I’m surprised at how much a lot of older people, especially senior citizens don’t want to embrace the technological advances of today. We live in an era where super computers are now within the grasp of our hands in smart phones with access to social networks and other computers. In this day and age, data means everything. If you’ve ever taken your thoughts as bits of data, you’re not alone. I like to think that my brain is a processing computer of my body and that every new image fires a neuron in that deep space. So my memory is just another file inside my head that I keep close in my site.
I’ve seen many people, like my grandparents, that have kept their memories like a library and often look into their photo albums to remind themselves of that great time they had in Europe a few years ago. They have great stories and I do my best to listen to their crazy adventure. I’ve thought about what would happen when they start to decay. Nobody likes to hear this but we all eventually start on the ride into the sunset of our lives. This is why I found a movie like Robot and Frank to be a fascinating look into one older mans psyche as he starts showing signs of mental decline.
The movie is a science-fiction fable that set in the near future. We have a glance at an aging ex-convict and cat burglar Frank (played by Frank Langella) who live alone to prove he still has a healthy mind. His home represents his mind as he lives in a massy environment that remains a scattered scrapbook of his life. His children Hunter (played by James Marsden) and Madison (played by Liv Tyler) have conflicting views on what’s best for their father, but they worry about him. Frank’s life is disrupted when Hunter brings home a robot companion to provide therapeutic care.
Frank’ life is taken care by the robot as it provide him with a daily routine, filled with healthy meals and safe activities like gardening. Once he realizes that the robot is not programed with the right or wrong morals, Frank starts teaching him how to pick locks. So in order to impress a local Liberian, Jennifer (played by Susan Sarandon), Frank and the Robot commit a heist to steal a first edition copy of Don Quixote. As Frank begins getting the thrill of burglarizing, he plans a heist on a neighbor.
Though Frank is a good character, it is the Robot that steals the show. It has a design that’s close to a Honda Asimo Robot, yet actually comes off as more then a machine; it is a part of Frank. The farther Franks dwells into his life with the robot, the more that the robot starts to become the memory of this poor man. For such a small story, it has some great writing as it dwells into the sadness and eventual acceptance of dementia.
I’ll give it four and a half Asimo robots out of five. I’m glad that I saw this movie, as my grandparents are really important to me. The more that I listen to their stories, the more I realize that I’m going that have to be their memory. I promise that I will pass on their stories to my future children. Maybe I’ll be telling them to a robot in the future.