Robot Dreams

Man's best friend is a dog, and Dog's best friend is a mail-order robot in Robot Dreams, an inventive and bittersweet tale of love and loneliness

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 18 Mar 2024
  • Robot Dreams
Film title: Robot Dreams
Director: Pablo Berger
Starring: Ivan Labanda, Albert Trifol Segarra (voices)
Release date: 22 Mar
Certificate: PG

Robot Dreams opens with a dog named Dog sitting alone in his apartment. Illuminated by the glow of the TV, he slouches over a microwave dinner and looks longingly into the house next door at the happy couple inside. It’s about the most devastating portrayal of existential despair to come from an anthropomorphic animal since BoJack Horseman

Rather than descending into a self-destructive whirlpool of drugs, alcohol and narcissism, Dog calls the number from a TV advert and orders himself a new robot friend. The pair then take to the city – an animal-filled version of 80s New York – where Dog teaches his shiny new pal the joys of rollerblading, hotdogs and days at the beach. Pablo Berger’s film features no spoken dialogue, but it communicates the happiness of this newfound friendship with perfect clarity using a vibrant, cartoon sitcom-esque art style and a lively soundtrack driven by Earth, Wind & Fire’s iconic September.  

Tragedy strikes when a bout of rust leaves Robot trapped where Dog can’t reach him. From there the film splits in two, following them separately as they try to find a way back to each other, or a way to move on. After the explosion of noise and colour that their friendship created, Dog’s world feels all the quieter in its absence. 

While Robot Dreams does find itself repeating a few of the same notes over the course of its runtime, it remains a sweet, sad, hugely inventive tale of love and loneliness.

Released 22 Mar by Curzon; certificate PG