Goofy and sometimes downright odd, the oh-so-small “Robot and Frank” is mildly futuristic, not quite a drama, certainly not a comedy, but a decent showcase for the always-welcome empathetic gifts of Frank Langella. Some years in the future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, with banded rolls of hundreds handy in his wall safe, has grown children who decide, despite his failing memory, to keep him in his own home by providing him with a robot caretaker. The story’s simplicity beguiles as an acting showcase for its star: Langella is ever graceful, commanding yet smooth. He knows this is a fine, lower-case opportunity he can inhabit fully. Robot, eh, not so much. Probably doesn’t have a future in this town. Directed by Jake Schreier. With Liv Tyler, Jeremy Sisto, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon and Peter Sarsgaard as Robot’s voice. 90m. Widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“Robot & Frank” is now playing at Landmark Century and Renaissance.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.