Grey is the New Green

The Intern

intern Nancy Meyers film

Director: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Robert de Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Nat Wolff, Adam DeVine, Celia Weston, Anders Holm, Andrew Rannells, Zack Pearlman

American director and screenwriter Nancy Meyers has always been brilliant at churning a reasonable collection of romantic comedies touching quite often on the social nuances of contemporary American culture. The director of What Women Want and Something’s Gotta Give, now teams up two Oscar winners the legendary Robert de Niro (Raging Bull, Silver Linings Playbook) with Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Devil Wears Prada) in a wonderful romantic comedy The Intern focusing on a widower Ben Whitaker who finds after his wife’s death has far too much time on his hands.

Whitaker, fastidious, presentable and dependable, expressively played by de Niro applies for a position as an intern at an online fashion site, which is young chic start-up which basically sells and delivers new clothing bought on the internet much like the South African versions Zando and Spree.

The start-up aptly named About the Fit is managed and owned by the driven entrepreneur Jules Ostin played by Hathaway who at first channels too much of her character from The Devil Wears Prada, but then finds her own form for the successful working mother with a stay at home husband, Matt, played by Anders Holm.

Initially, the internship program is designed to give senior citizens a chance to work in the digital era and exposure to the 21st century work environment, which Meyers accurately draws some brilliant observations between the baby boom (born during or after World War 2) generation and the millennial generation (born in the 1990’s), a divide made all the more problematic with the fast acceleration of digital and online technologies. The fact that Whitaker spent most of his career printing New York telephone directories and one of the naive receptionists asks if they still make phone books, is testament to this generation gap.

The narrative of The Intern takes on some more serious issues in the second half of the film, after a rather languid beginning punctuated only by some jokes and a caper involving stealing a laptop. The film is brilliantly enlightened by the accessible Rene Russo (Nightcrawler, Thor) as the company masseur Fiona in a wonderful scene where she massages Whitaker at his desk, much to the delight of the twenty year olds sitting on either side of him.

As the film progresses, director Nancy Meyers gives more scope for her two main leads to show some real acting talent even though the script at times is slightly saccharine. De Niro’s character Whitaker really is used as a vehicle, both literally (he becomes Jules’s driver) and figuratively as a means of Jules realizing that her career is not as important as her marriage and that sometimes its wisdom not business acumen that can help save a company which is threatening to become too successful too soon. A pitfall of many start up tech companies especially in the increasingly attention demanding digital age.

The Intern is recommended viewing for those that enjoy romantic comedies with a bit more depth, reasonably well written and soothingly directed by Meyers. This is a great, feel good comedy without resorting to crude language or stupid antics.

 

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