Abbi Webb, Editor in Chief
When I first saw the trailer for The Intern, directed by Nancy Meyers, I instantly made a judgment on it. Another one of those movies that so innocently and deviously gets viewers emotionally attached to a sweet old man, I thought to myself, and then BAM, the bond they’ve formed with the grandpa they never had is torn to pieces as they watch him die a slow nursing-home-ridden death or suffer from severe dementia; a tearjerker for sure. And trust me I’d be the loudest sobber in the theater.
But I got to put my tissues away for this 2015 movie featuring Robert Di Niro, as Ben Whittaker, an elderly, widowed retiree who gets jaded with his time alone post-retirement and begins searching for a way to put to use, what he calls, the music that’s still in him. Ben finds a flier for a Senior Internship Program at “About the Fit,” a Brooklyn based e-commerce company and decides to apply. He is assigned to assist the company’s founder, Jules, played by Anne Hathaway, an almost obsessed workaholic who has no time for slow-moving employees.
In retrospect, Ben helps Jules take a step back from her blinkered work life while also inspiring her to keep moving forward in confidence. In a refreshing ending, we aren’t left feeling sorry for old man Ben or narrow-minded Jules; rather, both of them have helped to make each other stronger and wiser, proving that the young have a lot to learn from the old and vice versa.
With the perfect amount of humor and romance, The Intern is the must see light-hearted film of the year. It showcases a surprisingly clean and respectable role by Di Niro who in the past has played characters like a pot-smoking ex-convict in Jackie Brown, the leader of a professional bank robbing crew in Heat and an Italian criminal in Goodfellas. His innocent, caring and grandfather-esque role in The Intern makes the movie a comforting one to curl up on the couch for watching. Hathaway also is charming in her go-getter role as head honcho of her very successful online fashion business. Her work, work, work mentality is similar to the one she played as intern to the head of Vogue magazine (Meryl Streep), in The Devil Wears Prada, and one that she can convince viewers of well.
Showcasing some beautiful scenery from the Brooklyn area, The Intern is visually pleasing with seemingly naturally lit scenes and a crisp quality. The set has a convincing modern, New York feel, but does well to include the not-so-neat condition of the busy family’s home and the ever-growing pile of clothing and accessories in the middle of the office that Jules abhors.
Meyers is once again able to recreate her pleasantly unique spin on the genre of romantic comedies as she did with It’s Complicated (2009), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), and The Parent Trap (1998). By moving away from the stereotypical, fairy tale ending with no-bumps-in-the-road love story, Meyers is consistent in directing films that present a complicated and unconventional way of reaching a happy ending. She brilliantly slips in sharp conflict, when we realize Jules’ marriage is on the verge of collapse, but uses it to reinforce the bond between her and Ben and the message that working women can still be great mothers and wives.