"Cat Burglar with an Amoral Robot"
What You Need To Know:
ROBOT & FRANK is very well written and acted, with a lot of humor. The directing and cinematography keep viewers engaged. That said, the movie justifies stealing from the wealthy because they already have too much money. It’s also justified because the rich victim’s a jerk. Ultimately, it’s this humanist moral relativism that makes ROBOT & FRANK unacceptable viewing.
(HH, Ro, AcapAcap, LLL, A, MMM) Strong humanist worldview with light Romantic elements, plus some strong anti-capitalist content; 28 obscenities and profanities; no violence; no immoral sexual content, just some married kissing; no nudity; light, casual alcohol use; no smoking or drug use; strong miscellaneous immorality includes burglary, breaking and entering, shoplifting, lying, disrespect towards one’s children, dysfunctional father, picking locks, running from the police, envy, greed, moral relativism.
ROBOT & FRANK is a sad story about an old, grumpy, ex-cat burglar father who’s on the eve of dementia. His life is miserable, he has a hard time remembering certain details, and his house is a pigsty. Then, one day, his son brings him a present – a robot.
Frank is an older father who lives alone in his house in the woods. He is apathetic, self-centered and lives in a house that’s unusually dirty and cluttered. He also has a tendency to forget details about his surroundings, recent events and sometimes people. This points to his approaching dementia.
Frank’s son, Hunter, visits him often and sees his mess. As a result, Hunter buys his father a robot to help him out around the house. Frank is resistant to the idea of the robot. He’s afraid it will kill him in his sleep. The robot does the chores around the house, cooks every meal for Frank and looks out for Frank’s overall welfare.
Frank keeps his distance from the robot at first, but as the movie continues, he figures out that the robot has one major malfunction in its programming. The robot doesn’t know right from wrong when it comes to the law. At this point, the movie reveals that Frank is an ex-cat burglar and has been convicted several times for stealing.
Frank often visits a library in town where he loves to talk to the female librarian, Jennifer, and check out books. Investors have decided to scan all the library books and make them digital and turn the library into an “experience” without printed materials. Jennifer isn’t very happy with the decision, but knows it’s inevitable. At the library, Jennifer holds a very old copy of DON QUIXOT and she’s unable to keep it there. Frank takes the opportunity to break into the library to obtain the book so that Jennifer can keep it, but with the robot’s help.
In an effort to improve Frank’s health, the robot suggests that he pick up a hobby that keeps his mind sharp. In so doing, Frank runs into a young “avant-garde,” modern, rich guy named Jake in charge of turning the library into a whole new experience. Immediately, the movie portrays this rich young man as the villain of the movie. Frank seizes the opportunity to return to his previous elusive career of cat-burglary and sees Jake as his first victim, which ends up being his only victim.
Jake trains the robot to pick locks and help do research on Jake’s home. Frank and the robot eventually figure out a perfect time to burglarize Jake’s home for the huge diamonds his wife wore to the investor’s ball for the library. They break into the house and steal the jewelry, which Frank hides.
Jake knows it was Frank who stole the DON QUIXOTE and his wife’s diamonds, but doesn’t have the evidence for it. The cops begin to watch Frank more closely because they suspect his crime. Frank begins to burn the evidence of planning the burglary, but there is one piece of evidence left that could convict him of stealing – his robot’s memory.
ROBOT & FRANK is a very well written movie. It has a lot of humor between the robot and Frank. However, there are quite a lot of immoral decisions made in the movie, especially stealing. Some of the dialogue suggests a justification for stealing by only stealing from the wealthy because they already have too much money. The conclusion of the movie is especially perplexing [SPOILER ALERT] because Frank gets away with stealing the multi-million dollar jewelry. While viewers are rooting for Frank to deal with the rich, arrogant, young Jake, they are left with a sense of moral relativism. Hence, they probably will wonder about the morality behind the movie. The morality is ambiguous in the movie. There’s no clear advocate for good – only greed and envy of people who are more successful.
The movie’s quality is phenomenal otherwise. The script and dialogue are very well written. The performances of the actors/actresses are awesome. The directing and cinematography really keeps viewers engaged.
Ultimately, the movie’s humanist moral relativism makes ROBOT & FRANK unacceptable viewing.