Christmas and feel-good movies go hand-in-hand like nobody’s business, don’t they? At some point over the holidays, after a couple of late nights partying with friends, it became evident that I’m just too old for this sh*t and I decided to have a movie night.
Now, I’ve always been a De Niro fan, but he’s been starring in a lot of sub-par movies in recent years so I didn’t know what to expect from this one. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, wasn’t one of my favorites in the beginning of her career, but she definitely started growing on me after a while and these days I can safely say I just love her in everything she does.
The two leads and the good reviews definitely made this movie promising, and in the end, they didn’t disappoint. As far as romantic comedies go, this one does deliver. It’s got its sweet moments, it’s moving at times, and although De Niro’s trademark mugging offers plenty of comic relief to make his fellow young interns redundant, it didn’t veer into slapstick territory like I was worried it might.
The premise of the movie is quite simple: an up-and-coming internet startup with Jules (Anne Hathaway) at the helm decides to implement a ‘senior internship’ program, and 70-year-old widower Ben (Robert De Niro) is one of the new hires. He is assigned to the boss lady herself, who seems reluctant at first, but he quickly wins her over with his old-fashioned gentleman stylings and experience and becomes her advisor and confidant. As is expected, the line between their personal and professional lives gets blurred, and the two unlikely friends help each other find their way: Jules offers Ben the opportunity to get out of the house and be useful again; Ben offers Jules his valuable services as a business world veteran, and invaluable advice for her personal problems. She gives him purpose, and he gives her a shoulder to lean on.
Of course, no feel-good rom-com would be complete without – hello? – a bit of romance. For Jules, the romantic element is focused on her faltering marriage, with her husband begrudgingly taking the back seat to her career and the role of stay-at-home dad while she’s off taking the internet shopping world by storm. For Ben, romance comes by way of in-house massage therapist Fiona (Rene Russo).
And may I just say how cute those two are together? It’s nice to see Russo playing a character her own age, and even though she’s still quite a bit younger than De Niro’s retired widower Ben, they make quite a lovely couple. It’s also nice to see Hathaway take on the role of a successful professional and family woman – especially in juxtaposition to her previous role as a fumbling fashion world novice.
It’s also very refreshing to see older people that aren’t the cliché out-of-touch grandparents assigned the role of fill-in babysitters, as is usually the case in such movies. As much as I enjoy films about twenty-somethings stumbling through adult life, it’s a nice change of pace watching someone my dad’s age being a contributing member of society and interacting with younger people without feeling like the odd one out.
All in all, it’s a pleasant little movie that leaves you feeling uplifted. Although I can’t imagine septuagenarians interning at a startup, especially a women’s clothing online retail site, anywhere in the real world, the dialogue and relationships are realistic enough to not make the entire premise ludicrous.
I tend to judge feel-good movies based on their re-watchability: will a second viewing be enjoyable? Will I still laugh at the jokes or cry at the sad scenes?
In the case of The Intern, would I sit through it again? The answer is, absolutely.