JMC Academy student Lauren Jones reviews the recent release of 'The Intern'.
I would be lying if I said that before watching The Intern I wasn’t slightly apprehensive. Whilst being a fan of
Writer/Director, Nancy Meyers’ previous films, (Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, It’s Complicated) I wasn’t entirely sold on her latest creation. The storyline and the Hathaway/De Niro pairing had me wondering if the film would really work, or if it would be a light, fluffy, clichéd 'chick flick'. However, almost immediately my attitude was changed. From the moment De Niro appears on the screen the audience connected with him. Although this is De Niro we’re talking about. The man is a Legend and can shine in any role he is given.
However, the undeniable chemistry between De Niro and Hathaway, and their performances throughout the film is what really connects the audience to the story.
Ben Whittaker (De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower who has grown bored in his retirement. He greatly misses the feeling of working, of being valued as part of a team, of have something to give his day purpose. Upon seeing a flyer for a senior Internship for an online fashion company, Ben seizes the chance to work again. A constantly relevant topic that Meyers explores in The Intern is the idea of ageism in the workplace.
Upon commencing his internship, Ben is ‘slow’ at wrapping his head around the fast paced, technically driven, modern workplace. Due to his age he is immediately scrutinised, judged, and undervalued by the early to mid 20’s people who are now his superiors. Throughout the course of the film however, Ben’s years of experience, business knowledge and wisdom in general are something that his younger work associates and almost sidekick-esque friends learn a great deal from. Ben ultimately comes to the much-needed aid of the young head of the company Jules, (Hathaway) who whilst being extremely capable at doing her job, is over extended and over worked. He is the calm and wise mentor that she desperately needs.
As in her previous films, Meyers has created a strong, driven female lead.
Jules created and runs her own extremely successful Online Fashion Company. She is also a loving wife and mother. Through Jules, Meyers brings forward the still extremely relevant issues of sexism in the workplace, and the juggling of the work/home life balance; what it is to be both a successful businesswoman and mother. Is it really possible to be simultaneously successful at both? This is something that Jules struggles with throughout the duration of the film. Will a more experienced male CEO replace her? Will her husband continue to be the supportive stay at home dad? Whilst Meyers examines these issues of ageism and sexism in often lighthearted, humourous and endearing ways, they are still extremely though provoking.
In this film you will find no CGI, dramatic car chases, explosions, or the superheroes that we have become accustomed to dominating our screens. Instead this is a character piece, a film about people
. All it has to offer is the somewhat simple story it is telling, and the characters that are telling it. This is where Meyer’s knack for writing brilliant, interesting and nuanced characters pays off. De Niro and Hathaway draw you in from the beginning, and the support cast is equally as entertaining and endearing. No character feels unnecessarily written in, each serving a purpose in creating a cohesive, multi dimensional and ultimately entertaining story.
Faltering slightly in the second half, the script overall was clever, relevant and relatable. Meyers has not written/directed a light and fluffy ‘chick flick’, but more of a character driven film, accurately examining substantial current social issues. It really is a beautiful, feel good film
that is immensely contributed to by De Niro and Hathaway’s amazing chemistry. People from the Baby Boomers to the Gen-Y crowd will connect to this well told and well-performed story.
By Lauren J. Jones
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