Robert De Niro (Ben Witaker) and Anne Hathaway (Jules Ostin) have great charisma on camera in “The Intern.”
In the story of a senior citizen (Ben) taking an internship under the CEO of a growing company (Jules) we learn the value of compromise, integrity and the importance of respecting our elders in a generation that is content to leave them in the dust with our old flip phones.
For a movie that runs two hours, it goes fast. Humor spans the entire movie, from little moments like watching Ben struggle to turn on a Macbook, to larger comedies that recur often. The humor lightens the mood in a movie that is really dealing with heavy subjects like failed endeavors, outgrowing your usefulness and learning how and when to give up on something.
While the trailers and the posters sound like an AARP ad with Ben as the posterchild, this is Jules’ movie. The conflict within the movie revolves around her character’s struggle with being a woman in a man’s world, which was often shoved down the audience’s throats.
At one point Ben tells Jules that he will be the feminist between the two of them, and encourages her to never give up. It is slightly uncomfortable that a movie is telling people what the feminist move in a conflict is. Do not tell us this is feminist, show us this is feminist. Let us decipher on our own where the moral high ground is.
Jules is a walking ball of conflict. Her professional life and her home life come under fire, and emerging through this fire is a complex and eventually likeable character. Hathaway’s multi-dimensional portrayal of Jules Ostin captivates and evokes sympathy from the audience, stealing the show.
Ben is an idealistic representation of how we all wish our grandparents were. He is charming, sweet, nurturing and willing to clean up after people. Can Robert De Niro be everyone’s grandpa?
His character is static, his conflicts have been conquered before the movie begins. He stands only as a foil to the rest of the cast, teaching his new colleagues and the audience that there is still wisdom to be taken from personal interaction with the elderly.
It can be seen why this movie would have an older target audience than expected. It has that “you can teach an old dog new tricks” kind of vibe from the trailer, but in fact the only new trick Ben learns is how to upgrade from a Samsung flip phone to an iphone in the course of a two-hour movie.
The real trick is how writer/director Nancy Meyers has captivated our hearts and our laughter across multiple generations.
For its dynamic humor and genuine story, check out “The Intern.”
Go watch this movie. Go call your grandparents.