Tom Hanks’ best partner can be an inanimate object.
He proved it in The Exile. Now, in essence, he’s doing the same in Finch.
Like a flashback to some of his greatest moments, Finch allows Hanks to use skills that make you laugh, cry and love him even more. Unlike a robot, it is invincible.
Hanks plays a robotics engineer who is one of the few people left alive after a solar event that nearly wiped out civilization. In the company of his dog Goodyear, he realizes that his days are numbered, although the pet is not. To ensure Goodyear is cared for, he builds a robot, teaches him to drive, question credibility, and, oddly enough, care.
The robot, whose name is Jeff (and is cutely played by Caleb Landry Jones in the motion capture process), makes a great soundboard and repository for Finch’s stories. Gradually, we understand what this man went through and why he wants someone to take care of Goodyear.
Hanks does such an amazing job playing with his fake friend that you’ll want them to have a lot of adventures before it’s time to kick the tires.
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, Finch captures the isolation, despair and resignation experienced by one of the last people on earth. This is not depressing, but simply reflects. With Jeff and Goodyear as his traveling companions, Finch can reflect on what happened and remind others in the process not to take anything for granted.
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As Jeff gains knowledge (he looks through books), he becomes more human. There is no “robots taking over the world” direction in the film, but it offers them a way to recover.
What’s lagging behind is how well Hanks can create a performance with a simple appearance and deep compassion. It would be easy for him to say goodbye if we didn’t know that he will have many more performances in the future.
It also makes you wonder what he might have done with other iconic roles: Hanks as Atticus Finch. Hanks as Harold Hill. Hanks as Hannibal Lecter.
He is capable of almost anything and does not flinch, even when the plot of the film is on a dark alley.
Luckily, Finch has a great humor (especially when Jeff and Goodyear interact) and an absent-minded professor atmosphere when Hanks creates.
The wonderful holiday movie Finch makes you grateful – even in the worst of times – there are moments and people that should be treasured forever.
Tom Hanks is definitely one of them.