Entertainment and Arts

‘Robot Dreams’ a Profound Animation for Grown-Ups

By: Russ Matthews

Written and directed by Spanish filmmaker Pablo Berger and based on the 2007 comic by Sara Varon, this Academy Award-nominated film is one based on an unlikely friendship.

Set in 1980’s Manhattan, Dog lives alone in an apartment and one day is motivated by an infomercial to purchase a robot companion. After receiving the robot in the post, Dog assembles the creature in his home. Once it is operational, the pair becomes inseparable. They travel around New York and enjoy life together, exploring the sights and sounds of the city that never sleeps.

On the last day of summer, they decide to enjoy a day at the beach, eventually leaving Robot inoperable since the sea water caused him to rust. Dog is resigned to leaving his friend on the beach until the following summer due to circumstances outside his control. This decision leads the pair on different journeys that will change their lives and relationships without knowing if they will ever see one another again.

Robot Dreams will take some time to adapt to since there is no dialogue throughout the film, and the primary characters are animals and robots. The story’s heart can come through once audiences get their heads around these fantastical elements.

Each segment and dream become beautiful vignettes that express the importance of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Pablo Berger captures New York in the 1980s and communicates the message of Sara Varon’s storyline brilliantly without one word being spoken. Granted, Dog and Robot’s story may not connect with younger viewers. Still, this profound animated marvel should capture the imagination of those willing to enter this bizarre animated world. There is a reason this gem was nominated for multiple awards since its initial release and should prove to be rewarding to all who discover Robot on the beach.

Reel Dialogue: Why do we need friends?

Dog and Robot surprisingly provide our world with a visual depiction of friendship. Animated films have tapped into the felt need for friendships. Still, this fascinating depiction takes the expression to a new level.

Solomon writes of friendship, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” This is one encouraging passage among many that talks about the value of friendship and how God is the author of this beautiful gift to humanity.

Friendship is woven into the human experience. How are you connecting with your friends? Today might be the best day to reach out to those you haven’t connected with in a while.

If you would like to discuss themes from Robot Dreams, reach out to us at Third Space. We would love to chat with you about this and more.


Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.

All images: Movie stills

About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.

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