When my mom suggested we go and see “The Intern,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had not, and still have not, seen so much as a trailer for it, so aside from her rough description, I had no idea what it was going to be about. All I knew was that it starred Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, and I’m always willing to give them both the benefit of the doubt.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I do know I wasn’t expecting to like this movie so much. It’s the story of a widowed retiree named Ben (De Niro) who wants something to do with the rest of his life. As it stands, he passes his days taking yoga classes, cooking dinners for one, spending time with his grandkids, and attending at least a funeral a month. He’s happy, but the routine is becoming stale. As such, when he reads a flyer posted by an online clothing company in search of senior interns, he jumps at the opportunity. “About the Fit,” or ATF, was founded by Jules Ostin (Hathaway) at her kitchen table 18 months before the events of the movie. She’s a genuine self-made woman: caring, hardworking and full of passion for her job. Still, as is the case with many workaholics, her personal life is strained. She’s a great mother and her daughter Paige doesn’t seem to mind the fact she works late, but her relationship with her husband is suffering. He resents her success, even though he won’t admit it. In light of this, Jules begins a struggle with the decision to hire on a CEO for her company to take some of the workload off her shoulders. It’s not hard to imagine, then, how she may have forgotten that she signed off on the senior intern initiative.
Enter Ben, who is basically Santa Claus in a Brooks Brothers suit. Although Jules is initially reluctant to accept help from a septuagenarian who doesn’t even have a Facebook page, she soon allows herself to admit she can’t do everything on her own. One thing I liked so much about this movie was the fantastic chemistry between Hathaway and De Niro. In one scene, they talk about their interests and take turns gushing over their shared love of Billie Holiday. That moment between the two of them is just so believable, and it works because the characters are more than the tired old tropes of “stressed career woman whose every problem is solved by a man” and “old person who makes dated references that no one gets.” They seem like actual people, and that’s really refreshing.
The movie isn’t without its flaws – at points, it seems rushed and some characters remain underdeveloped – but it’s a sweet, feel-good movie that actually tries. All in all, “The Intern” is the perfect movie to see with your parents or grandparents: you won’t be bored and they won’t be scandalized.