Film review: The Intern

Anne Hathaway.
Anne Hathaway.
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The Intern reflects the increasingly impersonal age, we live in. Workplaces which gauge success by page impressions and numbers of followers on social media platforms, boardrooms which are led by young, ambitious tech-savvy entrepreneurs, who made their first millions when they were still at university.

These high fliers, looking forward to a financially comfortable retirement long before the threat of a mid-life crisis blossoms, often overlook the wisdom and experience of an older generation, in this global marketplace.

Filmmaker Nancy Meyers reminds us that there is life after 60 in this film which is a frothy exploration of romantic travails set in the offices of a thriving dot-com fashion business.

As she bridges the divide between the old-fashioned ideals of a bygone era and the relentless 24-hour information bombardment of the present day, the writer-director sketches a touching friendship between a 70-year-old widower and a high-flying young executive.

Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is struggling to get to grips with the gentle ebb and flow of life following the death of his wife. “Retirement is an ongoing, relentless effort in creativity,” he narrates, ricocheting between menial tasks and fending off the amorous advances of old friend Patty (Linda Lavin).

To keep his mind active, Ben applies for a senior citizen internship at a flourishing Brooklyn-based company founded by workaholic, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).

The dress code is casual but Ben insists on wearing a shirt and tie.

“At least I’ll stand out,” he smiles.

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“I don’t think you need to wear a suit to do that,” replies Jules. As Ben settles into his new role, he befriends Jules’ overworked personal assistant Becky (Christina Scherer), her husband Matt (Anders Holm) and their precocious daughter Paige (JoJo Kushner).

He also makes a big impression on in-house masseuse Fiona (Rene Russo), sowing the seeds of a tender romance.

When Jules’ position as CEO comes under threat, Ben provides emotional support and teaches his boss that success shouldn’t always come at the expense of personal relationships.

The Intern bears the thumbprints of Meyers’ earlier pictures, including What Women Want and It’s Complicated.

Tearful self-discovery is accessorised with broad humour and the central relationship between Ben and Jules sees De Niro and Hathaway creating a winning screen partnership.

Unfortunately, Jules and Matt’s marriage isn’t scripted with the same amount of care or emotional depth, despite the best efforts of Holm to verbalise the frustrations of his house husband.

A hysterical centrepiece sequence, laden with Ocean’s Eleven references, belongs to a different film entirely but suggests that you’re never too old to break the law for a good reason.

Rating: 3/5

Talitha Bateman as Janice.

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