There has always been a division between the young and the old in the workplace, especially when it comes to technology. The difference between new school and old school is forever growing and changing at a rapid pace. The Intern meets the two age groups in the middle, poking fun at the both of them while also addressing the tropes of men and women in the workplace as well. While it succeeds in the former, the latter could have used a little more work.
Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) has created an extremely successful online shopping business that has grown exponentially over the years to the point where she is now the CEO of hundreds of employees. At the idea of one of her workers, her company decides to hire a handful of senior citizens as interns to hopefully bring their wealth of knowledge into the workplace. Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is one of the new interns and happens to be assigned to work directly under Jules, where he quickly sees what it takes to run a company. Thankfully, he’s there to help her out in whatever ways he can.
Initially Ben is seen as just some old guy who is unable to keep up with the younger crowd, but Jules soon comes to the realization that he is far more helpful than people give him credit for. He may not know how to work an Apple laptop at first, but he’s eager to learn.
Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro are the heart and soul of The Intern, and they’re amazing together. Hathaway clearly got some tips from Meryl Streep on the set of The Devil Wears Prada because she has the fiery spirit any good CEO has, although she is far nicer than her old boss. De Niro is everyone's favorite grandpa; he’s charming and has that old school sense of chivalry. Put the two of them together and there’s almost this father/daughter relationship. They share a mutual respect for each other that works to everyone’s benefit.
The Intern is great when it’s focusing on the workplace and interactions between Hathaway and De Niro, but there’s also a separate story that revolves around Jules’ relationship with her husband, Matt (Anders Holm). Naturally, being the CEO of a million dollar company leaves less time to devote to family. THe film actually brings up an interesting scenario, but struggles in its depiction.
Essentially Matt ends up in an affair because he isn’t feeling as loved, and there’s this entire third act revolving around Jules deciding whether or not to bring in a new CEO so that she can devote more time to her family. It’s a strange portion of the film that feels tacked on as an afterthought as it contradicts her attitudes early on in the film and basically reverts into a matriarch versus patriarch scenario.
Thankfully it’s just a small portion of the film and doesn’t ruin everything else. The Intern still manages to come off as a charming and heartwarming comedy that is shaped by its two stars. Hathaway and De Niro have wonderful chemistry, and the story subject couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, despite only scratching the surface of what can be said.