Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Movie Review: The Intern - Everything Old Is New Again

My hubby and I finally got around to watching a movie released in 2015, The Intern, starring Robert DeNiro as Ben, a 70-year-old widower finding retirement unsatisfying and Anne Hathaway as Jules, the hard-charging founder of an online clothing site. Through a senior internship program, Ben is assigned to Jules, who is not at all interested in this social experiment.

What I enjoyed most about this movie is the depiction of class, dignity, and old-school work ethic aiding the Fish-out-of water  to swim elegantly in his new ocean. Ben's ignorance of technology is more than compensated for by his work and life experiences. We see a group of millenials being mentored as well as the baby-boomer happily embracing lifelong learning.

My husband noted how much we need wise older men/women and , regrettably, how often age does not equal wisdom. As I'm in my 50s, the comment prompted me to pause and assess what wisdom I could bring to my younger friends and what foolish tendencies I need to purge. I was reminded of Paul's exhortation to young pastor Titus:
     But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
     Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you
. [Titus 2:2-8 NKJV]
The movie has a definite feminist sensibility (which made the resolution rather puzzling to me). DeNiro plays an old-school gentleman that current generations of emales would love to see reemerge. What's particularly interesting is Jules scornful evaluation of the men of her generation:
Nobody calls men "men" anymore. Have you noticed? Women went from "girls" to "women." Men went from "Men" to "boys"? This is a problem in the big picture. Do you know what I mean?...How, in one generation, have men gone from guys like Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to...[looks at her male friends]...take Ben here. A dying breed. You know? Look and learn, boys. Because if you ask me, this is what cool is.
Our protagonist finds herself longing for the very old-school masculinity her feminism has helped to erode.  The Law of Unintended Consequences. The character of Ben really is charming; he is a true gentleman. [Note: Masculinity should never be confused with its cheap imitator machismo.]

Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway have wonderful chemistry. The secondary characters are believable and actually somewhat developed considering their limited screen tie.

Writer/director Nancy Meyer's The Holiday is watched every December in our house.  With The Intern, Meyers has added another movie to my favorites list.