Listen up gents, if you have not been carrying a handkerchief around with you up until now, you will be after seeing The Intern. “How in one generation have men gone from guys like Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to…?”. Yes, sometimes words cannot capture the discrepancies between the ettiquette and class of two generations. One full of chilvarous men in crisp suits, the other full of young dudes in tattered hoodies. The Intern is laced with wit and ironic humour that generates a soft spot. It is a movie for couples, young and old, mums and dads, workaholics, shopaholics and for anyone who loves a cute comedy.
Anne Hathaway plays Jules Olston, the borderline OCD founder of a New York online shopping company. She is busy, meticulous and her business is her baby. Hathaway has come a long way since her days playing the faithful assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. Once again, she impresses audiences with her sweet humour and intelligence. However, she also has a few naughty tendencies thrown in for good measure, such as the methods she takes to deal with an overbearing mothers.
Now meet Ben (Robert De Niro), the sweet softie 70-year-old who is looking for meaning in his life and a way to pass the days following the death of his wife. Ben is by no means bitter or depressed, but just trying to fill a void as he takes up the opportunity of becoming a senior intern. Full of experience, intellect, class and always in a suit, Ben is a modern Cary Grant with a flair for business just like the fellas in Mad Men. Ben is exactly what Jules needs, and it seems he comes into her life at the very right time. All due to a little serendipity.
Jules and Ben, are the heart of the film. It is gorgeous to watch two generations taking on the hectic world of a business firm together. Director and screenwriter Nancy Meyers has developed a delightful comedy where both characters act as a mentor and mentee to one another. The interplay between the two is fascinating. And it is as though one is watching the story of a father and daughter.
Perhaps the best part about The Intern is how it throws back to the class and culture of the 1950s. It is heart-warming to see the generational gap reduce as a senior learns modern customs in the digital era, while teaching the younger generation of how things used to be. The occasional lesson in manners is also rather charming. Ben has no qualms. He simply lives to enjoy his life while being respectful to the needs of others. De Niro brings such a warmth to his portrayal of Ben that one cannot help but to feel uplifted upon watching his performance. The Intern could become a beloved comedy to watch again and again.
Image source: Roadshow Films.