Movie review: De Niro shines in ‘The Intern’
– When you think of Robert De Niro, no doubt a lot of things come to mind. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, De Niro was known for his tough guy roles. Movies like “The Godfather, Part 2,” “Raging Bull,” “Taxi Driver,” and “Goodfellas” earned him critical acclaim and awards.
But in his later career, De Niro has come to be known for another kind of role. Whether in the three “Meet The Parents” movies or others, he’s shown his more light-hearted side.
That’s a big part of the appeal of “The Intern,” De Niro’s latest film, which was released Sept. 25. In it, he plays an older man looking for purpose in retirement and finding it in an unexpected place. It’s a beautifully tender film full of friendship and humor that’s a nice break from the glut of marginal films released earlier in the month.
“The Intern” centers on Ben (De Niro), a 70-year-old widower who is looking to add structure to his day. He’s retired and his family lives on the other side of the country, so Ben is looking for something to give meaning to his life in Brooklyn. He sees an ad for a senior intern program at an online clothing dealer, and thinks he’s found something new to challenge him.
After acing the interviews, Ben is assigned to intern for the company’s founder, Jules (Anne Hathaway). Jules is independent and often overwhelmed, and she doesn’t see a point in having a “senior intern.”
Slowly, Ben makes an impression on his fellow interns and other employees. He even finds a connection with the staff masseuse, Fiona (Rene Russo). He becomes a hit at the office, and his new position gives Ben’s life structure and purpose.
Soon, he gets his chance to work with Jules, too. When he does, Ben and Jules form a bond that comes along just at the right time to help Jules make major decisions about her life and the future of her company.
Writer/Director Nancy Meyers has a knack for these type of films. She’s captured similar themes in “What Women Want,” “It’s Complicated” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” Here she delivers a fascinating slice of life about people in different generations and different places of life that form an unlikely friendship.
Meyers gets the most out of De Niro and Hathaway, who play off each other well and help make the story go. She gives the story a nice pace and fills it with colorful supporting characters, getting some good performances from the ensemble cast, too.
But this film is really all about De Niro. He’s the central figure in the film, and it’s his charm and skill that carry it off. He’s got great comedic timing in the film and has great on-screen rapport with all the other actors in the film.
One knock on “The Intern” is that it takes a little too long to get where it’s going. It’s not a hard movie to figure out, and it feels a little long at 121 minutes. But it’s an enjoyable ride, nonetheless, and the film makes the most out of its story and cast. It’s a welcome change-of-pace from the last six weeks at the Box Office and a sign of things yet to come this fall.
“The Intern” has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for some suggestive content and brief strong language.
Three stars out of four.