Nancy Meyer’s 2015 trifle The Intern is a little outside the usual scope of this blog, but it sparked a couple thoughts I needed to get out:
What a waste of a decent premise: a retiree reenters a transformed workforce, while the young founder of a startup grapples with success. But so little is at stake for either.
Ben (Robert De Niro) enjoys a comfortable retirement, with a nice home, stable finances, and good health. While he’s a widower, he hardly seems overtaken with grief or loneliness. His urge to reenter the workforce stems from a vague, half-felt malaise, not out of any financial or emotional urgency. He’s… fine.
Jules’ (Anne Hathaway) primary dilemma is whether she should maintain her company’s status quo (which has been functioning… fine) or bring on a more experienced CEO as her business grows (which would also be… fine). She’s also… fine.
The overall feel of this movie is like taking a warm milk bath, where every character was fine, is fine, and will be fine.
But for all its gentle geniality, The Intern does briefly dally with melodrama, as Jules’ frustrated stay-at-home husband smooches another woman. Here, old-school Ben takes a more feminist stance than she. For once, she does not take his seasoned advice, and opts to avoid confrontation with her husband. Similarly, she decides to do nothing with her company. So… everything’s fine.