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From the acclaimed director of MRS. DOUBTFIRE, Academy Award(R)-winner Robin Williams (1997, Best Actor, GOOD WILL HUNTING) stars in a delightfully heartwarming comedy about one extraordinary android who just wants to be an ordinary guy! It doesn't take long for the Martin family to realize Andrew (Williams), who was purchased as a mere "household appliance," is no run-of-the-mill robot! Funny, incredibly lifelike, and possessing an astounding level of creativity, this special machine soon takes on a life of his own -- and eventually begins a centuries-long quest to achieve true humanity! A crowd-pleasing comedy hit -- everyone is sure to love this touchingly entertaining movie treat!
Bicentennial Man was stung at the 1999 box office, due no doubt in part to poor timing during a backlash against Robin Williams and his treacly performances in two other, then-recent releases, Jakob the Liar and Patch Adams. But this near-approximation of a science fiction epic, based on works by Isaac Asimov and directed, with uncharacteristic seriousness of purpose, by Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire), is much better than one would have known from the knee-jerk negativity and box-office indifference.
Williams plays Andrew, a robot programmed for domestic chores and sold to an upper-middle-class family, the Martins, in the year 2005. The family patriarch (Sam Neill) recognizes and encourages Andrew's uncommon characteristics, particularly his artistic streak, sensitivity to beauty, humor, and independence of spirit. In so doing, he sets Williams's tin man on a two-century journey to become more human than most human beings.
As adapted by screenwriter Nicholas Kazan, the movie's scale is novelistic, though Columbus isn't the man to embrace with Spielbergian confidence its sweeping possibilities. Instead, the Home Alone director shakes off his familiar tendencies to pander and matures, finally, as a captivating storyteller. But what really makes this film matter is its undercurrent of deep yearning, the passion of Andrew as a convert to the human race and his willingness to sacrifice all to give and take love. Williams rises to an atypical challenge here as a futuristic Everyman, relying, perhaps for the first time, on his considerable iconic value to make the point that becoming human means becoming more like Robin Williams. Nothing wrong with that. --Tom Keogh
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The 'Bicentennial Man' was originally a novella written by the immortal futurist Isaac Asimov (first published in 1976, then expanded upon with Robert Silverberg later, as the 'Positronic Man'). Essentially telling the fascinating Story of a robot/Automation named 'Andrew' that Learns to become more and more 'human' in nearly every way, first thru daily interactions as an integral part of a human family ==> then thru subsequent contact with their descendants ==> to the point where this advanced 'artificial' being's increasing self-awareness eventually results in its ultimate desire to be recognized as an authentic 'human' by society (even at the price of becoming 'mortal')
That transformation from automation to genuine "human being" (for all intents-and-purposes) is an acting feat of immensely incredible proportions ==> but Robin Williams achieves this transformation convincingly (and in a thoroughly moving & heartfelt manner!)
A seriously difficult endeavor, since Science Fiction can often come-off as a bit 'hokey' or unbelievable, when not dealt with using utmost care & an equally high-Level of skill (not to mention sufficient 'heart'!) Thankfully director Chris Columbus also did an outstanding job maintaining an intense focus on making this story as believable as possible, along with encouraging the audience to really care as much about 'Andrew's' plight, as though he were already human!
But again, I really don't think that Robin Williams' incredibly moving performance, or the deeply thought-provoking nature of the questions posed by this film (and Asimov's great original Story), ever received the accolades & recognition they truly deserved. But this is an authentically Great modern "Lost Treasure' that deserves to be recognized (and appreciated) by all of us genuine 'humans'!!
Plot: Richard Martin (Sam Neill) purchases a household robot in 2005 named Andrew (Robin Williams) programmed to perform menial tasks. Within a few days the Martin family realizes that they don't have an ordinary robot as Andrew begins to experience emotions and creative thought. Andrew becomes part of the family so much he starts thinking of himself as a human and so does the family. As years go by he starts outliving a lot of the family so he sets out and finds someone who can make him more human.
Parents guide: There is talk about the bird and the bees and talk about the robot getting reproductive parts, and you see the robot in bed with a human female nude nothing shown but it is obvious on what just happened.
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