The Intern – Review

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To simplify: Nancy Meyers latest endeavour, the charming drama The Intern, is about what older people can bring to the workplace, as on age-grounds they’re deemed unable to still contribute, in spite of the fact they can have more experience than everybody else put together. Well, it’s certainly proven to be the case in real life anyway, as the venerable Robert De Niro proves he’s still got it, adding a sense of charisma and amicability to this entertaining watch. Though that was the simplified version – and the rest of the film, in spite of the positives that do exist, is bogged down by Meyers’ inclination to raise so many issues, and bring such a myriad of factors into play that it becomes overbearing.

De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a widower who has grown tired of retirement, wanting to leave this prolonged bout of tedium and get back to his old working ways. So he applies for an internship at an online fashion site, and is instantly assigned to being the personal assistant of the diligent, if impertinent founder, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). She’s under pressure to hire a new CEO for the company and lighten her workload, and with issues at home too, the calming, authoritative presence of her new assistance may just be exactly what she needs.

De Niro’s empathetic, congenial turn is emblematic of the tone and spirit of this film, and while not nearly as intense a role we’ve grown accustomed to from the renowned performer, there remains a talent in crafting a character who carries such a comforting aura about his demeanour, somebody that the other characters in the film love to be in the company of, which is a sentiment shadowed by that of the viewer. But there is a depth to proceedings too, as we’re studiously examining the life of a self-made woman attempting to balance her career with being a mother. Nonetheless, the film is far too long, with no real reason for this to surpass the two hour mark. For Meyers to revel so predominantly in being an undemanding, light drama, there’s no need to subvert that notion and needlessly go on all afternoon.

But, in a cinematic landscape where death and destruction are prevalent themes, it’s of great joy to indulge in something so lovely and endearingly gentle. There really isn’t an ounce of cynicism to this feature, and though undoubtedly flawed in parts, when has that ever been a bad thing?

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About Stefan Pape

Stefan Pape is a film critic and interviewer who spends most of his time in dark rooms, sipping on filter coffee and becoming perilously embroiled in the lives of others. He adores the work of Billy Wilder and Woody Allen, and won’t have a bad word said against Paul Giamatti.

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