A rare contemporary Hollywood movie
I thoroughly enjoyed! :)
The Intern (USA, 2015)
- Nancy Meyers, director-scriptwriter
- Starring: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway
Before anything else: yes, it's pretty rare that I review a Hollywood movie on this blog. But, then, it's also not usual for me to get to watch one before it goes on general release in the US -- and that's indeed what has happened in the case of this entertaining "feel good" cinematic offering that just happens to have been written and directed by Tinsel Town's most successful female filmmaker.
Although some might assume otherwise (because, you know, it's usual for a movie's main character and its helmer to be of the same gender), The Intern's titular character actually is male rather than female. Even more remarkably, he's actually a 70-year-old rather than someone several decades younger -- and he is played by none other than the legendary Robert De Niro!
The superstar actor effortlessly convinces, and charms, as Ben Whittaker, a retired widower who decides to go back to work -- as a lowly intern at a clothing company which sells its products online. Assigned to be the assistant of its founder and head honcho Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the affable senior citizen goes on to show that, even while he may need help doing such as establishing a Facebook account, he still can do a lot to help his colleagues and boss at work, and also as fellow humans.
To be sure, The Intern's premise is on the gimmicky side, and its general story arc is pretty obvious. But Nancy Meyers' film is not so predictable -- and consequently actually cool! -- in terms of the plot directions that it eschews, and the way it chooses to do such as portray and develop its characters.
For example, it most emphatically is not a romantic comedy; something that some of us would think should be pretty apparent since there's a 50 year gap between its male and female leads, yet is something that could easily happen in, say, a film directed and scripted by Woody Allen. Also, not only does de Niro's Ben come across as a wonderful person but so, too, does Hathaway's Jules.
Furthermore, Jules is rather remarkable in being the rare female senior executive portrayed on screen who's not a major bitch (a la, say, Meryl Streep's The Devil Wears Prada character or that essayed by Kristin Scott Thomas in Love Crimes) and, even more amazingly, happens to be the loving mother of an adorable daughter and caring wife of a man who has decided to be a stay-at-home dad. Pretty awesome too is how Anne Hathaway manages to show that Jules is not a complete superwoman but, rather, someone straining to keep things together and a success, who is not afraid to show her vulnerability at times even while also coming across as pretty impressive in many other ways.
The Intern benefits tremendously from having the charismatic leads that it does. But I reckon that a substantial amount of credit should also go to its director-scriptwriter for having fashioned a work that's intelligent, mature, warm, and pretty fun(ny)! This is particularly obvious in those scenes where it's the little details that count, and in how many of the movie's supporting characters (notably those played by Rene Russo and Zack Pearlman) are given opportunities to shine and elicit a big laugh (or more) in the bargain!
My rating for this film: 8.0