Film, OldVenue

Review: The Intern

Nancy Meyer’s Comedy, The Intern, stars Robert De Niro as the retired but lively Ben who becomes an intern at an up-and-coming online clothing company, run by the eccentric Jules (Anne Hathaway). Jules is at first sceptical about his placement, but soon comes to depend on him through various work and family related dramas. The film is driven primarily by its characters, both Ben and Jules being incredibly endearing.

We also see the contrast of a conventional, old fashioned man working for a modern, successful woman. This change is refreshing, and there is never any suggestion that Ben is uncomfortable; at one point he proclaims himself a feminist. Meyer reveals a lot about how society treats working mothers, a term Jules rightly suggests is outdated and sexist. It also more subtly critiques views of pensioners, who are often thought of, to put it crudely, as dead weight. However, De Niro shows both in character and as an actor, that he still has a lot to give.

Unfortunately, Jules is portrayed as unique in her success and complexity. Other women come off as catty stereotypes or are underwritten, such as Fiona, who is presented only as a love interest for Ben. Although Meyer shows one strongly written woman, she doesn’t develop others enough to show that women as a whole are professionally capable and emotionally complex. Similarly, the way that Jules’ husband is portrayed feels less like a new portrayal of the modern stay at home dad, but more of the needy housewife stereotype projected onto a man.

Another shortcoming of the film is that jokes centering round Ben’s age are forced and predictable, especially in regards to technology. The more sexual jokes tread the line of funny and uncomfortable and at times sadly fall into the latter. However, most of the jokes hit well, and the comic relationship between Ben and the other interns adds light humour that nicely juxtaposes some of the more serious scenes.

Although a long way from perfect, with some misplaced jokes and lacking characterization, The Intern has enough genuinely funny and emotional moments to redeem it. Its refreshingly feminist stance, the inclusion of two unconventional yet endearing characters, and their undeniable dynamic relationship make for an enjoyable film. Perfect if you are looking for a film to make you laugh but also to pull on your heartstrings.

+Hilarious characters
+Bold feminist views
-Predictable plot
A refreshing and easy to watch film, that gives you more to think about.

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Watch the trailer for The Intern:

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August 2022
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