Director, producer and screenwriter Nancy Meyers hasn’t had the best luck with critics with the release of her previous films. From What Women Want to Something’s Gotta Give to my personal favourite The Holiday, audiences have complained about Meyer’s approach to romance, feminism and viewpoint on life. However her new Robert DeNiro-Anne Hathaway light comedy The Intern combines Meyers best qualities and abilities, providing a fun but meaningful flick that gives more than expected.
Hathaway plays Jules, an Internet start up mogul who seems to be able to have it all – the perfect family, the best job and happy with how her life is going. Meanwhile Ben (DeNiro) is a retired businessman and widower who decides to jump at the opportunity to be an intern in Jules’ online fashion company. Naturally he fits in against the odds and whilst Jules initially struggles to come to terms with his slower paced life and more fulfilling outlook on his life. Naturally soon Jules finds him irreplaceable, as he becomes the surrogate carer for all the members in the office.
Much of the film must be credited to Meyers comic style and observations which are always spot on and fully fleshed out. Optimism and romance both play a big part, as usual in Meyers films, and they do not go amiss here. Hathaway does a great job, playing the role of Jules realistically and multi-dimensionally, and DeNiro is also excellent as the elderly Ben, who is no doubt given the funniest lines throughout the film and whose charm is an integral part of the story.
Meyers should also be applauded for her feminist take on the story and how she presents the character of Jules as more than just a workaholic or loveless woman. Her ability to explore the balance between work and home life that so many contemporary woman face is at the core of the narrative and doesn’t come across as dictatorial. Indeed some scenes are cringeworthy but the sharpness of the direction and performances by the actors and actresses alleviates the faults in the script.
At the heart of the story is this combination between old and new generations, the sacrifices made in modern life and how elderly people are slowly being pushed more and more out of the public consciousness and how their contributions to society are more valuable than ever. Many viewers may find the film contrived or claim that the Meyers is pushing a point in a blunt manner, but alas this positive, nostalgic and happy-go-lucky film has heart and a message that supersedes the simplicity and oversentimentality of the story.
Originally published on CelebrityOz on 12 October, 2015.