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).
Review by Louise Keller:
Anne Hathaway lights up the screen in this likeable comedy in which work, purpose, life and love come under the magnifying glass. Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, It's Complicated) has written a wonderful screenplay, filled with observant truths as the price of success is considered and evaluated. Unlike her role in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) in which her ambitious graduate undertakes a Cinderella-like transformation, the journey that Hathaway's Jules Ostin, founder of a successful online fashion start-up undertakes, is almost the opposite. Here the work-obsessed, intolerant Jules is humanized, her life's choices scrutinized and vulnerabilities exposed. It's warm and funny, with its involving and amiable characters, delivering more than you expect. As for the dynamic between Hathaway and De Niro, who is the catalyst for change: it's delightful.
Keep moving, is the message De Niro's 70 year old widower Ben Whittaker tells himself, as he continually tries to keep busy, to fill the hole in his life since retirement and the loss of his wife. The early scenes when he takes on the position of Intern in Jules' ever-expanding fashion company as part of a project for Seniors, is comedy at its most contrived, but things settle down as Ben makes himself indispensible to his new boss in her spacious, open-plan warehouse office. There's the harsh contrast of the old and the new as the former senior marketing executive of obsolete phone books tries to blend into a Google and Facebook environment.
As Mr Congeniality, Ben impresses his colleagues by his classic, commonsense approach to life, business (and an impeccable dress code), he also becomes involved in Jules' personal life - with her ever-obliging, ever-tired house husband (Anders Holm) and adorable curly-haired daughter Paige (JoJo Kushner), who is almost too cute to be true. De Niro is an old hand at this kind of role - he has almost become a caricature of himself, with his terminal good natured grimaces. But he is a bit like an old shoe - familiar and comfortable. The romance with office masseuse Fiona (Renee Russo) ends up better than it begins.
The funniest sequence involves a hare-brain escapade in which an email sent in error to Jules' mother has to be deleted. It's broad comedy at its funniest, the humour accelerating in delicious fashion as everything goes wrong. The scenes with heart play out well, too: the San Francisco hotel room scene in which Jules has a meltdown as she finally voices her inner most fears to Ben's sympathetic ears, is heartfelt and poignant, largely due to Hathaway's credible persona.
The various subplots mesh nicely and there's a genuine feeling of bonhomie involving the entire cast. But it's Hathaway who carries the film squarely on her elegant shoulders and wins us fairly and squarely by a performance that she makes into something far more dimensional than the character Meyers has created on the page.
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INTERN, THE (M)
CAST: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, Nat wolf, Drena De Niro, Adam DeVine, Wallis Currie-Wood
PRODUCER: Suzanne McNeill Farwell, Nancy Meyers
DIRECTOR: Nancy Meyers
SCRIPT: Nancy Meyers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen Goldblatt
EDITOR: Robert leighton
MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kristi Zea
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 1, 2015