I’ve often wondered what I would do after I retired. Granted, I’m only 27 years old so I have quite the way to go. But I question what I would do with all that unconstructed time. Travel, work with charity, spend all day reading, or learn a new language are all on my short list. But what do you do when you’ve run out of stuff to do? The Intern takes us on the adventure of what to do with yourself when you feel that you’ve already done everything.
First of all, this cast is amazing. I mean, really. The chemistry between Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway is phenomenal. It borders between the paternal aspect and the educated guide. He’s her Yoda. While those two shine as the leads, the secondary cast keeps the movie going with humor and lightheartedness. Adam Devine, Zach Pearlman, and Jason Orley are other office workers who bond with De Niro as he learns the ropes of working at a tech company. And damn are they hilarious. There is a particularly amazing scene where the four of them engage in a house break in, and I could not stop laughing. Let’s not forget Rene Russo who is the company masseuse and cozies up with De Niro’s character. They are “Oldies but Goodies,” in her words.
For being such a lighthearted film, it brought me to a deeply philosophical place. It had me asking some very deep questions, which is probably the depth they were hoping for amongst the funny stuff. Hathaway’s character is balancing a business from her own creation and it is fully up and running less than two years after its inception. But you can easily see the strain. She admits she doesn’t sleep or eat very much. Her relationships with her husband Matt (Anders Holm) and daughter Paige (JoJo Kushner) are clearly suffering. Whether the lack of communication with her husband over events or being less of an active parent for her daughter, she knows the strain this creates for their whole family unit. So it makes you wonder, what do you risk losing by going after what you are passionate about? There are aspects of my life that I am very passionate about and could easily dedicate all my time and effort to, but what would I lose by doing that? What in your personal lives would get pushed aside to pursue your passions? Hathaway’s character is trying her hardest to pursue her business, and it is doing well. She is trying her hardest to make things work with her family too. But in the end, something always gives way. In the film the aspect of bringing in a CEO is brought up, so Hathaway’s character can focus more on her family. But giving away control isn’t easy, especially when it is your passion project. How can one balance it all? Have it all?
Another aspect that struck me deeply is the power of helping others. Volunteering is an amazingly reward experience. There is nothing more powerful for the soul to be there for another person, to help or even just listen. And that is a lot of what De Niro’s character experiences. He just wants to help. He wants to show that he’s someone to be trusted and counted on, and that is very moving. We just need more kindness in the world.
The last philosophical point is the consideration of the breakdown of communication. As noted in the trailer, instead of having a face to face conversation, text and email were used instead. Text too often lets emotion, meaning, or expression slip through the cracks. It can be helpful but it can also cause more misunderstandings. Has this tech generation lost the truth behind personal interaction when not behind a screen? Do we find it easier to emotionally distance ourselves from a person because we can hide behind screens? Can we remedy this or is our generation too far gone?
My biggest complaint with the film was some plot lines. It seemed like too many threads and that in the end, the author had to try and find a bow for each. Hathaway’s character has a difficult relationship with her mother, but it is never explored. I would have hoped for her to have talked to her mom and had some maternal wisdom passed on, but it didn’t happen. It was left unresolved. Hathaway’s character also has marital struggles, that again end in far too neat a fashion. I know this is fiction, but it is supposed to represent real life. And real life is messy. Way way messy. I think this is a good film. The cast alone makes it worth watching in my opinion. If you ignore the little bits of plot that get left along the way, it is a feel good movie that will make you think.