There are good reasons Robert DeNiro is one of the most prolific and loved actors of all time. He has starred in pretty much every genre under the sun, starred in some of the most iconic films ever, and has managed do it all with class. In recent years DeNiro really seems to be reinventing himself and starring in roles you might not expect him to. From the crooked Senator in the cheesy Machete to his wonderful performance as a reclusive psychic in Red Lights (great movie if you haven’t seen it!) to his role in The Family, which was almost a parody of some of his past roles, he is taking risks again and seems to be having fun doing it. His latest film, The Intern, pairs him with Anne Hathaway and is out this week.
DeNiro plays 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker who despite keeping busy, trying new things and having a positive attitude has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When an opportunity to be a Senior Intern at an online fashion site comes up Ben gets the job and is assigned to be intern to the founder of the company, Jules Ostin (Hathaway). While Jules is initially reluctant to take a senior citizen into her already manic schedule, she soon finds Ben to be an invaluable help and a much-needed friend.
I could not have been more surprised by The Intern. I was expecting a typical situational comedy much like so many Vince Vaughn movies as of late but instead I got a heartfelt, genuine, beautifully written and sincere movie about relationships and getting older. DeNiro is so wonderful here as Ben. He does not play the senior as a man who doesn’t know modern technology or modern music or culture. Sure there are things he doesn’t know but he approaches them openly and acceptingly. He is no dummy. The same goes for Hathaway’s character. She is a working mom running a successful company but the script never generalizes her into a stereotype. She is seen dealing with the stereotypes but the writing never gives into them. Everytime I expected the movie to veer in a predictable direction it would pull back and instead take it to a realistic and intelligent place. And that was damn refreshing. Much like another DeNiro film that was underappreciated from a couple years back, Everybody’s Fine, The Intern turns its back on Hollywood conventions and manages to create a lovely, intelligent adult comedy drama that hits all the right notes. Highly recommended.