A totally delightful and charming take on the importance of friendship, ROBOT DREAMS also explores the pain and loneliness when those relationships no longer exist. Based on the graphic novel, “Robot Dreams”, by Sara Varon, writer/director Pablo Berger has brought Varon’s meaningful story to life on the big screen as his own animated ”love letter” to New York.


Dog lives alone in Manhattan in the 80s. An advertisement for a robot catches his eye, so he decides to purchase one as a companion for himself. They bond immediately and soon they are doing all the fun things friends do together; roller skating in Central Park, eating hot dogs from a vendor on 5th Avenue --- even going to the beach, where they have a great time playing in the ocean.


But the water wreaks havoc on Robot and he’s unable to move. Dog isn’t strong enough to carry him off the beach, so he must leave Robot --- and it’s the very last day the beach is open until the following June 1st.


Bereft, Dog tries to go about his life without Robot. Fall turns into winter and poor Robot alone on the beach, eventually covered by snow, begins to dream about being reunited with his best friend. Neither Dog nor Robot can imagine what lies ahead. “Will they ever meet again?”


Sans dialogue, ROBOT DREAMS utilizes a more traditional, simplistic animation from animation director Benoît Feroumont, who helmed a team of over 60 animators. Berger stresses the importance of the eyes in giving life to his characters, maintaining that each one’s gaze is an “essential element in obtaining performances full of life”. He and his crew have succeeded brilliantly.


ROBOT DREAMS is at once joyful --- and heartbreaking. It’s thrilling when Dog finally has someone to share his life with --- and then devastating when he and Robot must be apart. Relationships can be delicate --- easily broken --- and how do we overcome that?


This wide range of emotions, as the audience journeys along with Dog and Robot, is enhanced by the wonderfully diverse music by composer Alfonso de Vilallonga, which according to Berger, gives ROBOT DREAMS “a very New York urban sound”. And the soundtrack also features Earth, Wind & Fire’s fabulous “September”, along with “Let’s Go” by The Freelies.


One certainly does not have to be a child to enjoy ROBOT DREAMS. The message of the importance of friendship is universal and Berger’s craftmanship should be relished by all.


Opinion: See It Now!





ROBOT DREAMS is a most unusual animated film in that there is no dialogue --- and no people, per se. Taking place in New York City, where Spanish director Pablo Berger lived for 10 years, the protagonist is a canine simply named Dog.


Living alone in his apartment, eating his favorite food --- macaroni and cheese --- the forlorn Dog comes upon a TV commercial about robots. He picks up his home telephone and orders one. When delivered, it requires assembly, which he does post haste --- much to the chagrin of the pigeons watching through an outside window.


Once Robot’s four green lights illuminate, the assembly is a success. Dog and Robot have an immediate affinity for one another. They do everything together and are joyfully inseparable. But one day at the beach, trouble rears its ugly head, and the two pals do get separated.


ROBOT DREAMS is a remarkable effort by Berger and his staff. He also wrote and produced this film which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this past March. It also was a featured selection at Cannes and Tiff.


Based on the graphic novel by Chicagoan Sara Varon --- she writes and illustrates children’s books --- ROBOT DREAMS is a terrifically touching story of friendship, loss and recovery. The attention to detail is deft, as when a brief close-up of Dog’s wagging tail reveals Dog’s ultimate excitement when the burly mailman knocks on his door to deliver the robot package. He is no longer alone!


ROBOT DREAMS can certainly be understood by children, but adults will likely feel a much greater sentiment about the storyline. Who among us hasn’t lost a friend one way or another?


The animation is relatively simple by today’s standards. Yet the facial expressions --- even the single-line smiles/frowns of the characters --- tell us everything that they are feeling. It’s that rare film which moviegoers will crave to watch again and again --- and tell their friends about.


Opinion:  Strong See It Now!