I did not know what to expect from The Intern. Like most of you I saw a trailer and then De Niro’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show, where he barely spoke about the film.
What caught my interest is that De Niro and Anne Hathaway were paired in a film by director Nancy Meyers, who co-wrote Private Benjamin and worked on Father of The Bride and Something’s Gotta Give. Meyers has a wonderful eye and feel for family relationships. She has a knack for teasing out those tiny and fleeting moments that add meaning to our mundane lives. She has a way of connecting to her audience via those small, intimate details in our life that make you sit up and go “Oh, that is exactly how I feel.”
In The Intern Meyers introduces a clever twist in her narrative. She plants a genial, retired senior executive as an intern in a fast paced startup and then sits back and sees what happens when these two different worlds meet. They have different outlooks, values, and expectations. So, will their views collide, or will they learn from each other?
Retired executive Robert Whitaker (De Niro) is finding it difficult with all that free time at his disposal. He is itching to do something meaningful and lands an internship at an e-commerce startup in Brooklyn. He is assigned to Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the hands-on founder of the startup. Ostin is a stickler for details and works long hours and barely sleeps. Naturally, there is no time for her to deal with an intern and that too a senior one, who worked for a phone book company. So, how could this senior intern possibly know anything about an online startup world and online shopping?
By putting two different generations of people under one roof we see some interesting developments. We see the contrast in attitude between the baby boomers and millennials on work, life, marriage and dating issues. The millennials seem to be struggling a bit, especially the men. We were told we could become anything we want says Hathaway at one point in the film. She has everything going for her: a dream job and a house husband, who takes care of their daughter. “But, what happened to men?” she wonders. When did they go from being men to boys? And guess who inspires the boys in Hathaway’s startup? The affable and impeccably turned out De Niro.
Meyers skillfully handles and highlights the difference between the two generations and what they can learn from each other. More importantly, she underscores how technology has changed our lives. And then there is the fact that the senior intern sets everything right for the people in the film. Turns out he had a lot to offer to the young millennials at the startup.
Like I said I enjoyed watching the film since I could identify with both the world views. I grew up in a world where we used phone books, landlines and went to a brick and mortar shop. Today, we live in a world of instant contacts, where we barely speak to each other. Like many of you I saw what we have lost and what we have gained in our transition from a pre-Internet to an always-connected world on the Internet.