Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

The Intern (PG-13)

Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Robert De Niro
September 2015

This review was originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appears @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation. The original tweets appear in black, while follow-up comments appear in red. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!

The Intern

“A hole in my life.” Many people, young and old, have this.
Although this search for significance is universal, it’s probably more pronounced for those facing old age alone.

“I still have music in me.” Heartfelt video audition. Inspiring.

A way for friends to shop together online. Dangerous.
Just imagine friends making recommendations for each other or people pressure buying what their friends bought. Frightening. Especially with the Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) set.

“What was your you remember?” Ha!
What a backhanded, ageist, comment.

Gray is the new green.
I thought orange is the new black. I’m so confused.

The blinking scene is hilarious.
Hathaway’s character is weirded out by people who don’t blink. But what about those who blink too much?

“Sitting is the new smoking.”
Not quite as bad for you, but a point well made for those cube dwellers that’ve been forced into a sedentary lifestyle.

When did “too observant” become a bad thing?
Many people are content to believe lies about themselves and are resistant when someone comes along and tells them the truth.

The Facebook and pizza scene is special.
This is the kind of well crafted character scene that sets Meyers apart from other filmmakers in the drama/comedy hybrid genre.

The “fake alarm” scene is hilarious.

First date at a funeral. Classy.
Flipping the bird at a funeral? Classless.

Pocket squares...a secret weapon with women.
DeNiro’s explanation for how pocket squares were made with women, not men, in mind is ennobling and chivalrous…something has clearly been lost over the generations. Hathaway’s character, Jules, points this out in the bar scene when she contrasts Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford with the three twenty-something schlubs standing in front of her.

Intern/best friend. Touching scene.

Final analysis: a touching, topical film that strikes all the right chords emotionally.
As we’ve come to expect from Meyers’ films.

De Niro and Hathaway are terrific together and director Nancy Meyers has delivered another cinematic gem.

3 out of 4 stars. A crowd-pleasing dramedy that should appeal to the young and old alike.

Nancy Meyers has done it again! Not only has she delivered another delightful and diligent character study, she’s also given us a film that, like many of her past films, has tapped into the zeitgeist in powerful yet nearly imperceptible ways. In The Holiday (2006), Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz—both of whom have just broken up with their loser boyfriends and just need to get away—conduct an intercontinental house swap for the Holidays. Though themes of old relationships, new adventures, accidental boob grazes (okay, you got me…it isn’t a theme, but it is an extremely funny scene) and overcoming emotional numbness all factor into the film, it’s the keen comparisons between old and new Hollywood by Eli Wallach’s character that serve as the heart and soul of the film. It’s Complicated (2009) shows the effects that a middle aged divorce has on the grownup kids in the family…and how adults can carry on like kids in the midst of a confusing love triangle. The Intern (not to be confused with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s The Internship from 2013) is Meyers’ canniest film to date. The director addresses the generation gap, career reversal (woman CEO married to Mr. Mom, who, in his state of emasculation, steps out on his wife) and the need for structure and purpose in our lives in such an organic, unassuming way that most people will miss the surfeit of social relevance dispensed here. The film incisively depicts the plight of young people desperately trying to make their mark in a down economy and how anyone over forty is considered ancient by the youth focused job force and may find it difficult to secure employment. Whereas the twenty-somethings may be doggedly focused on making their first million by thirty, some retirement aged folks, like Ben (Robert De Niro), would be happy just to have a job to help them pass the time of day. The film underscores another disconnect in today’s business world…the people with little to no experience (not knowledge, degrees or advancement due to nepotism) are making all of the decisions while individuals with decades of on-the-job training and wisdom are being relegated to the sidelines or, worse still, coffee runs for entitled bosses with superior social media and/or computer skills but who have no people skills or business acumen whatsoever (if you detect a hint of animosity it’s because I, like far too many other highly qualified individuals in our country right now, am living Ben’s reality every day). Only when both sides of this generational struggle learn how to work together, as Jules (Anne Hathaway) and Ben do in this film, can true progress be made in our nation’s business sector. The infidelity subplot has been done a trillion times before, and the one here really isn’t all that noteworthy other than the way it adds tension to the story. What is worth mentioning is the film’s underlying theme of the basic human need for purpose. For Jules it’s her job, which everything in her life is conspiring to take away from her. For Ben, it’s having structure and socialization in his life as a retired widower. The message is clear: whether just starting out in the work force or winding down after a long career, we all need some type of vocation to fill our days and give us a sense of accomplishment. The final scene also gives us a hint about how to find fulfillment and satisfaction in life...sometimes we just need to take a day off to actually enjoy the life we work so hard to maintain. Other than its clever characterizations, stellar performances, sure-handed direction, socially salient plot points and crowd-pleasing story, The Intern is just like every other dramedy out there.