January 22, 2012 at 09:03 AM EST

Imagine if the iPhone’s Siri was a humanoid-shaped household appliance, but one with a big, beating heart in its toaster chest.

That’s the setup for the Sundance crowdpleaser Robot and Frank, which warmed up the snowy festival Saturday with its not-so-distant-future tale of an old man (Frank Langella) befriending a caretaker machine he initially loathes. (The robot is voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, with Hal 9000 coolness, and a physique akin to Honda’s Asimo.)

EW presents four clips from the indie movie, which immediately attracted a frenzy of studio buyers after the debut. Click through to watch, and get details from the premiere.

Langella stars as a cantankerous old-timer who is slowly sliding into dementia, but still able-bodied enough to get himself into serious trouble unless someone is watching closely. Since his son and daughter (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) live far away and can’t deal with the burden, they assign the nameless robot to become his servant, nurse, and companion.

Langella, an Oscar nominee for 2008’s Frost/Nixon and a Tony winner for the Broadway show, can be an intimidating presence, but here he shows a lot of fear and vulnerability, too. First-time feature director Jake Schreier tells EW that Langella decided to more or less play the character like his own personality. “About a week before we shot, he said: ‘You know, Jake, I don’t want to act this part. I just want to do it from the heart.’ It was a pleasure to watch him, in some ways, wing it. He didn’t try to craft it too much.”

CLIP 2: Their first fight

For more Sundance news, follow @Breznican on Twitter.

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