Review: Tom Hanks' 'Finch' is a post-apocalyptic tale laced with hope and wonder

Tom Hanks and Caleb Landry Jones (as Jeff the robot) in “Finch,” premiering globally November 5, 2021 on Apple TV+. (Photo: Apple)

3.5 out of 5 Stars
Miguel Sapochnik
Writer: Craig Luck, Ivor Powell
Starring: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13 for brief violent images

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Set against a post-apocalyptic landscape, Finch builds a robot to take care of his dog and rediscovers his humanity in the process.

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Review: If you’re expecting a review filled with references to “Cast Away,” a film that sees Tom Hanks stranded on an island befriending a volleyball, this is the only one you’re going to get. “Finch” and “Cast Away” are similar only in that they star Hanks.

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Finch (Hanks), a man living alone in a bunker on the edge of apocalyptic America, knowns that his days are numbered. His thoughts turn to his dog, Goodyear, and who will take care of him when he is gone. Finch, a robotics engineer in the life before, assembles a robot (Caleb Landry Jones). A robot who eventually will name himself Jeff.

Forced to flee their bunker, Finch, Goodyear and Jeff head toward what was once San Francisco. Jeff proves to be more childlike than Finch predicted. Never intending on being a parent to Jeff, an act that forces him to remember the past, Finch struggles to keep his bitterness and distrust of humanity from destroying Jeff’s innocent fascination with the world. Jeff is hopeful in a way that Finch can no longer be.

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There is a wistful optimism that exists in “Finch,” the sort of feeling that is reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s films (Amblin Entertainment is one of the production companies). What is somewhat surprising is that the optimism does not come from Hanks. It radiates from Jones and the puppeteers and the visual artists behind Jeff. Hanks, typically the light in the darkness, portrays a man pushed beyond repair. You root for him, partially because he is played by Hanks, knowing that a walk into the sunset is the happiest of endings you should expect.

Still, “Finch” isn’t a dour film. There’s something comforting within it. Sure, it is a little sentimental. In this case, I like that. I think you’ll like it too.

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