“I just know there’s a hole in my life and I need to fill it – soon.”
Ben Whittaker, Robert De Niro
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] am an absolute sucker for movies about cute old people. If you think about it, nowadays most older roles are often portrayed as bad tempered, bad-mouthed and generally difficult people – think about the new, “older” Doctor Who, as one example – and it makes me so sad because I know that stereotype just isn’t true! So I went into The Intern, I was suspicious of what I would find (come on, comedy + old guy = rude old man), but I actually came out feeling pleasantly surprised and unwittingly charmed!
The Intern follows the story of Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), a 70 year old retiree with a heart of gold. After the death of his wife and his completion of all his life travelling ‘goals’, he soon finds out that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Bored with his new lot in life, he manages to land himself a prestigious fashion internship for Seniors (who wish to keep busy), for an up-and-coming e-commerce fashion company, headed up by the career-driven founder and CEO, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Hilarity and hijinks ensue, as Ben tries to keep up with his much younger colleagues, work out how to use Facebook, lean to fall in love again, all whilst trying to find out whether he really fits into the working ‘world’ anymore.
Interestingly enough, the film had original cast Tina Fey and Michael Caine in the lead roles. I think Michael Caine would have done an equally charming job as the old retiree struggling through the increasingly digital world, but Tina Fey… Seriously? Think how different this film would have been if she’d been the lead?! Instead of a charming, light comedic tone, the film would undeniably leaned more towards Fey’s love for the slapstick comedy style – has she ever had a serious acting role, like, ever? Lets just say I’m glad that they stuck with who they did and I really do feel that Hathaway and De Niro’s performances give the film more credence as an actual film, with actual actors and not a series of awkwardly timed jokes, by someone who has no more right to act, than I do – I’m looking at you Tina, honey. I also liked the really big age gap between the two leads, it allowed their relationship to play off as more of a cute pseudo father-daughter relationship than what may have been easily interpreted as a possible romantic connection, with two people of a more similar age.
Although The Intern won’t be winning any Oscars anytime soon, the film has just the right balance of comedic scenes and ‘real life’ situations (*SPOILERS* the affair *SPOILERS*) that make it thoroughly enjoyable to watch, and without feeling like the film has insulted your intelligence. I think if the film had leaned too heavily on its comedic side – as so many films do, nowadays – then the film’s message of: “life’s too short to not be doing what you love”, wouldn’t have come across as genuinely as it did. And I think it’s this, the film’s real sense of genuineness, that makes this film hit you right in the feels.
However, I do have a bone to pull with one semi-major aspect of the film. *SPOILERS* So the husband was having an affair because his wife was away from home too much – you know, working hard to pay for his tacky plaid shirts, whilst he stayed at home and played dress-up all day. So, my main issue was why on earth didn’t they just get a nanny?! He could have gone back to work and re-found himself – although I really don’t know that there was a lot there to start with – and she could have stuck with her job, and none of this side story wouldn’t have happened. I mean, it’s not like they couldn’t have afforded it – she OWNS her own company for god’s sake! Also, just in general, the guy that played the husband really creeped me out and she should have just dumped him at the end. No woman should have their husband threatening to cheat because he feels like he’s “lost himself”. Why didn’t he just go back to work?? I literally just didn’t get that bit…. Rant over! *SPOILERS*
Interestingly enough, The Intern is actually Anne Hathaway‘s first leading role, after playing mainly supporting roles in films like Dark Knight Rises (Catwoman), and Les Miserables (Fantine) for the past four years. Her role in The Intern and her role in The Devil Wears Prada seemed to overlap in such a way that I felt as if we were looking at a future version of where her DWP character would have ended up. In that sense, it felt like I already had a connection with her character and liked the film all the better for it. (But, that could also just be because Anne Hathaway seems to be an all-round, pretty lovable person!)
For me, the film was what it said it on the tin – light-hearted and easy to watch. Just from the trailer alone (watch below), you can easily gather that The Intern will be one of those fluffy and light-hearted mushy films that slowly becomes one of your staple go-to’s on a Sunday evening – when you should probably have better things to do with your time. Definitely not for anyone looking for a serious storyline or award-worthy performances, but I still definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a happy, cheesy watch – perfect for a relaxed night out.