We are so used to science fiction films being filled with special effects and lots of action that we can lose sight of the fact that some of the best sci-fi is about people. It's also about ideas and technology, so that when they all come together in a simple story, free from spaceships and explosions, it can be overlooked as even being sci-fi, as happened with Never Let Me Go. Robot and Frank fits into that category.
Frank (Frank Langella) is an irascible old loner whose memory isn't quite what it used to be. He also happens to be a not completely reformed jewel thief. Frank's put-upon son (James Marsden) gives his dad a caretaker robot, which Frank doesn't immediately take to, especially when it is programmed to overturn Frank's life by setting him a routine, involving a healthy diet and exercise. However, Frank soon discovers that the robot his quite pliable and obedient, and good company, and before long they are planning heists together, as well as trying to win the hand of the local librarian (Susan Sarandon).
This film has everything you could want from a movie. It has a sparkling script, great actors and crosses many genres with its mixture of comedy, romance, a buddy heist thriller, social interest (dementia) and, of course, robotics that both praises and criticises technology.
If you like your sci-fi to be smart, without getting too cerebral, and have a big heart, then this is possibly one of the best films of the year in any genre.
Robot & Frank is in cinemas now.