If your planning to go see a movie, Nancy Meyers’ latest movie, The Intern is a good choice. It is a fun, innocent romantic comedy with a few surprises – it’s a bit like cotton candy. Although it’s very pleasant escape, definitely a chic flick, there might be a few things that rub you the wrong way.
Robert De Niro, plays the part of Ben Whittaker, a 70 year old widower, an seasoned and very rich executive that is grappling with retirement. Despite his affluence, he’s looking for more and jumps on an opportunity to work for a online haute couture, social media obsessed company. The founder, a woman, (Jules) played by Anne Hathaway, is cornered into buying into an initiative spearhead by HR to hire seniors as interns, because cutting edge research shows that it could add to the wildly successful companies growth. De Niro gets matched up with Hathaway and so the movie unfolds.
The movie beautifully explores the nuances of retirement, ageing, death, marriage, the effects of trying to have it all, a close look at the reality of social media and how it plays out in daily life both at work and home. The movie gave a fun glimpse into what a “hip young” start up company might look like. De Niro, does a flawless job playing his character, it was hard not to fall in love with his wisdom, humour and humility. Likewise, it was refreshing to see a smart woman, (played by Hathaway) wildly successful at creating a spectacular company, maintain her dignity, femininity, humanness, humour and charm. And, oh, how I loved her wardrobe!
So, what’s the problem? The movie falls short. It does a good job perpetuating several lies.
The first lie in the movie perpetuates the “you can have it all – lie” where workaholism has no long term serious effects. The second lie is that emasculating the father and creating a grovelling weak character is somehow appealing or redeeming. The movie tried a little too hard to redefine traditional roles of the mother and father in a family – somehow suggesting that the two roles were completely interchangeable. Anyone with any common sense knows they are not.
There is one scene in the movie, where Hathaway is doing vodka shots with a few male co-workers while in a bit of a drunken stupor she rants on the reality that men of this generation are not quite as masculine as they used to be. It was an interesting attempt to address some of the detrimental effects of feminism. The movie did a good job in perpetuating the ‘mommy wars,’ this time the villain was the stay at home mom. Hathaway has a very strained relationship with her mother and her own father is completely absent from the movie. In a strange way, De Niro almost falls into that role.
The movie was fun, refreshing, it had many characters that I fell in love with. It’s too bad it couldn’t stay close to some eternal truths.
First of all, presenting Tai Chi as a solution to one’s woes is much too simplistic, please!
The plot could have been a little more creative to include the rightful dignity of a father’s role. It could have also explored the reality of corporate change when faced with painstaking growth. The mamby pamby premise that a company can’t grow successfully without it’s founder was a tad boring. Having said all of that there is enough great acting in movie to make it worth the watch.