It was refreshing to see Robert De Niro cast as another character aside from Mafia bosses like Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II” or hardened everyday men like Jack Byrnes in “Meet the Parents.” The Sept. 25 release of “The Intern” showed De Niro portraying a retired widow, Ben Whitaker, who wants to do more with his life.
After travelling for a few months after his wife’s passing, things got boring around the house so Ben chooses to take up an offer for a senior internship at a fashion web company called About the Fit, run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).
At first, Jules is reluctant since she is used to making all her decisions on her own and only having help from her assistant.
But, eventually she warms up to him. The movie explores their relationship from what begins as strictly boss-employee to what morphs into a sort of father-daughter complex.
At one point when Ben is looking out the window of the office, he sees Jules’ driver drinking from a flask and confronts him to not drive her anywhere.
As the film progresses, he gets more involved in her life, offering her advice when investors want to move her out as head of the company and hire a CEO to legitimize the business, advice that she does take into consideration.
De Niro and Hathaway had excellent chemistry that showed when they spoke with one another; it was as if they actually cared for one another and the relationship and bonding that they had was real.
The comedy was well-paced, having no dry spells where there was just a silence in the audience or move so fast that it seemed like a forced string of needless jokes, none of which went by without a chuckle from the audience.
De Niro’s constant blinking when one of his coworkers told him that Jules doesn’t like it when people don’t blink or when De Niro and some coworkers break into Jules’ mother’s house to delete an email when the alarm goes off and all but De Niro panic in the situation are just two of the prime comical highlights of the movie.
Though primarily a comedy, there were some serious and tender moments when dealing with the characters’ personal lives and their stresses, such as the revelation that Jules’ husband has been cheating on her with a mother from their child’s school and her breakdown to De Niro when they talk about how she’s known for a few weeks.
Even though the few serious tones felt odd at first in the movie, they worked well to develop the characters.
One other gripe that I had was when Jules took her cheating husband back.
The movie was, on the whole, empowering for women, as Jules ran her own company while her husband stayed home to take care of their child. So, her taking her husband back right away without putting him on a kind of “probation” or just taking him back in general somewhat defeats that sense of empowerment.
Even though “The Intern” isn’t a perfect movie, it is a good watch. It makes up for any of its shortcomings with its heart and its genuine feel-good attitude.