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Oct. 6, 2015

"The Intern" rises to the occasion

by Eleanor Cook, Online Editor-in-Chief
With a witty and well-delivered script and plot, "The Intern" expertly straddles the line between comedy and drama. Just like its main character Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), a 70-year-old interning at an e-commerce startup, the film does not miss a beat. A feel-good movie, it combines youthful humor with more mature moments that address the problems of daily life.

The Intern

(released September 25, 2015)
"The Intern" ties humor in with the seriousness of the business world. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Chips Rating:
4.5 stars

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"The Intern" ties humor in with the seriousness of the business world.

By opening the film with Ben doing tai chi in a park to the audio of his video cover letter for a position at a new online shopping company, director and writer Nancy Meyers infuses irony and humor from the start. Ben, who applies for the position geared toward senior citizens because he is bored with his retirement, demonstrates great charisma and intelligence in several interviews. He is soon hired and becomes one of 220 employees at About the Fit, founded only months beforehand by current CEO and workaholic Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). At his desk in the airy and newly-renovated Brooklyn warehouse that is About the Fit's headquarters, Ben keeps up easily with employees who are a third of his age, from driving with them all around New York City to teaching them some of the grace of his generation. The movie's upbeat and simple soundtrack, consisting mostly of acoustic guitar and gentle piano, reflects the less-is-more attitude of the company and keeps the tempo going throughout the entire movie.

Jules struggles with balancing the responsibilities of CEO, wife, mother and daughter and having the time to eat and sleep. As her company grows, she learns that her investors would like to see a more seasoned CEO taking charge and increasingly fears losing her company and dream. In one of her most mature roles yet, Hathaway soars, depicting both the disappointment and joy that come with growing as a fully-fledge adult.

Hathaway works excellently with De Niro as their characters bond and grow in a film that not only keeps the audience laughing, but also tackles the issues faced by young, working women in a business world that is dominated by men. Davis (Zack Pearlman), Lewis (Jason Orley) and "Pitch Perfect's" Jason (Adam DeVine) play important roles in providing the comic relief as Ben's fellow interns and protégés. With subtle, funny details from Jules' bicycle that she rides around the office to her daughter Paige's expanding vocabulary, "The Intern" stays light while also consistent in its portrayal of the criticism and condescension directed at strong businesswoman.

The film is realistic and credible in its depiction of the chaos and unpredictability of everyday life. With tech references juxtaposed with the trials and tribulations of aging, the film contains something for audiences of all ages. While there are several emotional scenes, the overall bright, natural-looking lighting helps the viewer adopt Ben's simple and optimistic outlook on life. Driven by loyalty and a strong conscience, he regains his youth as he supports Jules through the process of maturing. The film stays fast-paced, like Jules' life, and succeeds in surprising the audience a few times.

Each character is given multiple layers through the excellent writing. They are imperfect yet dynamic and all the more captivating. Falling in love with "The Intern" is easy. It excels at portraying the complexities of life in the 21st century and keeps audiences rooting for Ben, Jules, and their colleagues and company the whole length of the film.

"The Intern" is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language and is now playing in theaters everywhere.



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