The Intern has a charming premise, charming direction and charming leads; in fact, the whole thing is pretty charming. Writer-director Nancy Meyers has shed the rom-com trappings of her previous films (The Holiday, It’s Complicated) to produce a considered tale that entertains while negotiating sexism and ageism in the workplace.
The film benefits from terrific chemistry between its co-stars. De Niro is effortlessly amiable as father-figure (and eponymous intern) Ben, while Anne Hathaway shines as Jules, the overwhelmed CEO of an internet startup. (Is there a more effective doe-eyed actress in Hollywood?) Meyers’s script laments the abandonment of ‘old-fashioned’ manners but there is more going on here than a longing for chivalry – Meyers is genuinely interested in the quandary of 21st century masculinity. The Intern offers a salve for contemporary gender dynamics in De Niro’s restless septuagenarian and his trusty handkerchief.
To nit-pick: the film is too predictable at times, and unwelcome story threads distract from the central narrative. But there are laughs to be had and even some well-earned tears to be shed. So, while the subject matter arguably deserves a more stringent examination, this light-hearted morsel nevertheless serves as a nourishing treat and comes with this reviewer’s recommendation!