The Intern

by | Oct 19, 2015 | 0 comments

Robert DeNiro Does It Again With Hathaway’s Return to Comedy

 

Simply put, Robert DeNiro is one of the greatest actors in the history of cinema. Not only that, but he’s been on a successful run of roles for more than 40 years. His latest outing, The Intern, only cements his incredible dominance and mastery of the craft.

The Intern is the story of an optimistic widower Ben Whittaker (Robert DeNiro) who enrolls in a senior internship program for an e-start company. The start-up sells clothes online and was founded and is headed by the super busy Jules (Anne Hathaway). Ben is a gentleman in the old sense of the word, he dresses up for work (despite everyone dressing casually), he owns a Samsung flip-phone, carries a briefcase to work, and, most importantly, carries a handkerchief. Ben is assigned as Jules’ personal intern, but Jules is so hands-on she doesn’t want the help. Ben is shunned aside as Jules buckles under all her stress. Therefore Ben must push through, courteously, to gain Jules’ trust and to feel useful again.

The film is incredibly quirky and a feel-good movie. Director-writer Nancy Meyers is known for the eye-candy sets and costumes (The Holiday, It’s Complicated), and this film doesn’t fail to disappoint. The greatest achievement, however, was that this was a comedy about friendship between a man and a woman. Usually today if there is a man and a woman in a comedy, they always have to end up together. What I appreciated here was that this shows that a man and a woman can just be friends. I also enjoyed that, even though this film was predictable, it was so enjoyable and wellpaced that you were having too good a time to worry about it.

Robert DeNiro once again shows his class by playing Ben with an absolute dominance of the audience. He has us in the palm of his hand. When he cries, you cry, when he laughs, you laugh, etc. He’s so skilled with his craft that it makes all of his roles now seem so natural. Anne Hathaway, meanwhile, makes her return to comedy after a stint of darker films (The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables, Interstellar), and you can tell she feels incredibly comfortable to be back in the genre. Her comedic and emotional instincts are spot on so that even cheesy lines from the script are filtered perfectly to us. There was only the minor miscasting of Anders Holm as Jules’ husband. Holm didn’t do anything wrong, specifically, it’s just that the role wasn’t for him; it seemed unnatural, and that was a disappointing flaw to an otherwise great cast.

But the film does have other flaws. One thing I noticed was that the film was incredibly active with social awareness. It was aware of older and younger viewers and was able to mesh that by bringing the gentlemen etiquette of Ben and the “connectedness” of Anne Hathaway (references to Uber, Instagram, and Facebook), and even the feminist view throughout the film was surprising yet pleasing. However, there was an incredible absence of people of other races (and its filmed in Brooklyn!). Every speaking part in the film was given to a white actor or actress. I only spotted Asian or black people in the background as extras, and while I know a film can’t appeal to all the social problems in the world, it seemed too poignant an absence for the viewer to be able to ignore. The other flaw was Ben’s character. Ben is extremely lovable and so perfect in every way, but therein is the problem. Ben is too perfect, to the point that he’s not exactly credible (similar to the problem of Augustus Waters’ character in The Fault of Our Stars). If Ben was simply shown to have a simple or small flaw it would have grounded his character so much more and made him relatable for the audience.

In the end however, the film makes you have an incredibly good time. And at two hours it feels like almost half of that time. The acting is great, as is the ambient of the set. The comedy hits well, is well timed, and is never forced. Simply put, the film doesn’t try to be something it’s not, it keeps it simple, clear, and honest. In the end as the famous quote says: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 74% 74%

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What is your favorite Nancy Meyers movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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