Starring: Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Andrew Rannells, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Anders Holm, Jason Orley, Christina Scherer
Directed By: Nancy Meyers
I recently read Meryl Streep’s blasting of “not enough female movie critics” out there, and I was immediately violently angry at Meryl Streep. Like, internet troll angry at Streep. How could she think that having a penis has anything to do with our ability to relate, understand, and enjoy a female driven pic? I fucking loved The Intern. The only reason this thing is getting an A- is because it really tried actually too hard to wrap each and every little thing into a very nice, neat bow. Everything is not always perfect. Sometimes, complete and total resolution is not what a film needs. The best films thrive on conflict.
The Intern is a Nancy Meyers film. She’s made a couple films I really loved, including Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, as well as The Parent Trap remake that launched Lindsay Lohan’s career. Yes, Nancy Meyers is directly responsible for Lindsay Lohan. It’s a chick flick. I get it. I loved it. I’m not a chick.
The film is about Anne Hathaway being a working mom, running her own internet startup, and facing all the challenges that come along with that. Will she fall flat on her face? Will her husband leave her? Will her company go under? All these questions that are totally normal questions, seem amplified by the fact that she’s breaking glass ceilings and being a trailblazing woman for a new century. She even references this in a brief monologue discussing how her generation grew up in a “bring your daughter to work” time, with Oprah, and a whole movement around how girls can do anything they want when they grow up. Want to be an astronaut? Sure! Want to start your own company? Definitely!
I think what really makes the film work, though, is DeNiro. You can hide the film as a female empowerment masterpiece, but without DeNiro, the film doesn’t work. He actually pulls off everything this role asks of him. He’s got charm for days. He’s funny. He’s smart. He actually comes off as the nicest, most gentlemanly person you could ever possibly dream of meeting. This guy maxed out his chivalry attribute a long time ago. He’s the most likeable film character perhaps in several years. Everything he does is “good guy” stuff. Every woman has to love him, and every man should want to be him. It can be a bit much at times, but that’s only when you realize you would rather just embrace his swag and live his life, and your more jealous of him than annoyed by his perfection.
Balancing him is Hathaway, who really also does a great job, and has great chemistry with DeNiro. She comes across as caring and intelligent, which are both absolutely necessary in this film. Russo, DeVine, Rannells, and Pearlman are all good in their supporting roles. Holm has some difficulty in his heavier moments, but is perfectly fine when just expected to play “dad”.
At a time when Oscar movies are going to be really heavy, and dark and depressing, there’s this really happy, feel-good movie, that is the kind of movie I can already tell is rewatchable for years. Sometimes, its perfectly acceptable to just be a feel-good movie. You don’t always need to be trying to win Oscars. For what it’s worth, I’d totally give DeNiro a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy.
Take that, Streep.
FINAL GRADE: A-