Life is grim in times of austerity, especially for those facing their autumn years in life. So what better than an uplifting film from the Nancy Meyers’ collection of ‘cosy life stories’ that embraces the more mature in the technology world. Yes, it may seem a little far-fetched in reality as we all know over thirty-somethings seem over the hill in this environment, cast aside for the energy of youth. However, The Intern takes this sorry premise and cynically pokes fun at it. Remember, with age comes wisdom, it seems.
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Whittaker finds a new romance along the way while saving another.
Meyers magic returns for fans now living in the faster-paced 21st century and with life online. The rest of the scenario is much the same in The Intern, with cosy settings that we all dream of living and working in, ‘beautiful’ people to match, and events that spark a collective ‘sigh’ of contentment – but not without a little ripple or two to resolve first.
The Intern is the perfect vehicle for a mature De Niro to do his trademark ‘told you so’ frown and head tilt, while Hathaway flaps and talks ten to the dozen in her Devil Wears Prada way, complete with perfect painted pout – only this time she’s the Streep ‘Miranda Priestly’ character, the boss. Except, Ostin is flawed and struggling to keep it together, perhaps an analogy for the fickleness of the online business world too? Apart from ‘older and wiser’, it seems ‘old ways are the best ways’ too, the latest Meyers’ moral to be taken away here – or a reassurance for anyone approaching the ‘ancient age’ of 30+.
The Intern oozes charm, warm wit and cuteness in massive Meyer mounts; either let yourself bathe in it and come out feeling the world is not such a cold and hopeless place, or refrain and encounter every cliché in the sentimental book that you’ll feel like you’re drowning, while none of the scenarios have an ounce of believability – expect, perhaps, the workaholic partner endangering their idyllic family life, and the naivety of youth played out by some ‘clown-like’ characters.
The latter feeling rises to the surface here quite often, but does give the more cynical viewer a good chuckle at the characters’ expense. Hence, there is enjoyment to be had by either party watching. The actual reality here is a Meyers’ moment reaches the hearts others cannot reach, without investment in the story. There’s something for everyone, however much some try to fight it. It’s harmless escapism that we secretly wish to be true; The Intern is just the current Meyers tale in her emotional arsenal – nothing more, nothing less.