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Thread: The Intern (2015)

  1. #1
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    The Intern (2015)

    The Intern (2015) – directed by Nancy Meyers

    I compare this film to Italian cooking – you use fresh pasta, fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs and top it with aged parmesan – that is the essence of “The Intern.” A young energetic woman takes a new idea and develops it into a successful clothing business. Her meteoric rise is not without its emotional toll on her, her staff and her family. A co-founder and friend suggests – after he reads about it in an online article – taking on some senior interns; people who have years of business experience that might pass on some of their knowledge to the staff. Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) rubber stamps the idea, puts it on the back burner and forgets about it when an elder man shows up one day and surprises her. The business partner assigns intern Ben Whittaker (Robert DeNiro) to work with the company’s CEO, Ostin. She finds him “too observant” and is ready to fire him when it slowly dawns on everyone how valuable – within a short span of time – Ben becomes to the organization.

    The film opens with a narrative driven by a DeNiro voice-over. Recently widowed, Ben Whittaker uses his million-plus air miles he’s accumulated to travel and see the world. “I always end up coming home to an empty house…” he states at the beginning of the movie. On a Brooklyn street one day, he comes across a flyer about a company wanting to hire senior interns. Ben follows the directions, makes a video and sends it in. Of all the candidates, his is considered strongest by the hiring staff because of his sincere nature. Though ignorant of most modern social media (the one part of the film I thought to be the weakest plot point), Ben gradually fits in and affects the lives of those with whom he interacts.

    With an audience of aging baby-boomers surrounding me, I found Ben Whittaker an easy hero in an age that no longer has respect for itself, let alone each other. In discarding so much of the past, the millennials have also thrown dignity and self-respect out with the baby’s bathwater. Our young society thinks nothing of belittling one another for one-upmanship. They’ve become cowards, hiding behind cells phones, and believe the only way to communicate is via social media. One of the most poignant things Ben points out early is direct communication. One of his fellow staffers wants to impress a woman in the office. “I’ve texted her, liked her, tweeted her… I even sent her the most awesome email full of emoticons! She just ignores them!” Ben asks, “Have you spoken to her?” At once, we see the apparent weaknesses in the overly medicated, heavily cell-phone subdued generation. Ben’s willingness to be that listener makes him more valuable than those too willing to blurt out numerous opinions for self-importance.

    While Hathaway plods along as the neurotic over-worked CEO, Rene Russo walks onto the scene as the company therapist. As if someone opened a window, letting in floral scented spring air, this actress – with such great screen presence – infuses great comic relief into what could become a sophomoric lesson, bogged down with too much pontification. DeNiro’s character skates a fine line between avuncular and platonic. Yet as the film builds, he shines with panache and demonstrates how a great actor can demonstrate the most profound thoughts from just a change in his expression. DeNiro is my generation’s greatest actor – whether he’s doing comedy, empathy, or Sympatico. In several scenes, DeNiro is so good at self-expression, he manages to communicate everything we need to know from his changing face. Meyers direction here – or so it seems on the surface – is to let DeNiro be real with no dialogue and no music. The result is a brilliant performance. You can’t help falling in love with him.

    Fun light fare for the baby-boomers out there who think that all we have left is a golf cart in Florida; “The Intern” demonstrates that Nancy Meyers can use her great skill, as both a writer and a director to convey the importance of growing old with style and grace. For being a Monday matinee, they packed the house. When the lights came up – I saw smiles on all of their faces. While Hathaway is a competent actor and the rest of the young cast did well; it was Rene Russo and Robert DeNiro who steal the show and indicate once and for all – we are the shining generation.
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    Puzzling Social Media Comment

    It seems to me that Cinemabon contradicts himself regarding what he believes is "the weakest plot point," the last sentence in paragraph two by his statements in the entire following third paragraph. Enough said about that point. I really enjoyed the rest of Cinemabon's comments, though with a partial fascination for Ann Hathaway I give her performance more credit than Cinemabon.

    Robert DeNiro and Ann Hathaway star in this dramatic comedy about an elderly intern to an e-business executive. Directed and written by Nancy Meyers, The Intern offers up an entertaining and finely balanced movie about growing older, about females balancing business and personal responsibilities at home, and about close relationships in general. It is an engaging look at contemporary life and the human element that we often take for granted. The Intern is hard to rate because it’s much more reflective of life than the dramatic stylish script the audience and critics have often come to expect. Nancy has incorporated intense, sensitive dramatic scenes which derive from the natural human state of existence rather than the oftentimes overly dramatic scenes for audience reaction. The ending of this movie is a case in point, it doesn’t end with explosive titillating satisfaction, but with a soft landing of the expected natural consequences of life trying to work itself out.

    This movie resembles coming of age comedy-dramas like Uptown Girls (2003) or Waitress (2007) but for the elderly with somewhat older established women. There is also some suggestive elements that could even come from the Best Oscar classic Roman Holiday (1953) with its primary emphasis less on the romantic comedy than on the experience of everyday business life, such as Ann Hathaway experienced in own her breakout film The Devils Wears Prada (2006). What’s remarkable is that The Intern reflects one of the few movies that doesn’t focus on a romance plot and instead uses another relational theme as the movie’s core and still is able to captivate and move the audience, a rare and difficult accomplishment in itself. Even so though, unlike Lost in Translation (2003) the ending doesn’t seem to quite able to smooth out the uncomfortable mental ruffles.

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    Ms. Hathaway spells her name Anne with an e, as a Scottish lady I chatted with, also an Anne, commented on the EuroStar to me yesterday. I haven't seen THE INTERN but it's showing in big Paris theaters and I might if I run out of more appealing fare. I'll keep in mind the Boomer aspect. Metacritc rating 51%.

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    Cream of the crop didn't fare any better (53%). I found it incredulous that DeNiro's character should be completely devoid of any Facebook knowledge at a time when it's dominated by people over thirty and especially people over 50 (its majority share of users). That he couldn't even figure out a laptop computer stretched it a bit. Computers - in form or another - have been around for over two decades with Apple around before most PC's took off. Signing up for Facebook is extremely easy. Using Google even easier. I just found it unlikely that despite his age, he'd be so computer illiterate.

    Paris in the fall, Chris? Fashion? Movies? Qu'est-ce que c'est?
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    To Text or Not To Text

    I love Anne of Green Gables. At 60, I really can't text, so I wouldn't be surprised that there are elderly people who haven't even used a computer. But I am willing to accept the disbelief about DeNiro's character lack of knowledge about Facebook, but just not quite as much.

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    I've been visiting Paris after the NYFF almost every year since I started covering the festival and I do go to movies here -- there's a good selection -- but also have always come to see and hang out with friends.

    Before covering the NYFF for Filmleaf by a year or two, one fall in Paris I discovered that I knew enough French to watch French movies without subtitles. I missed a lot, but it was also cool to see new French movies when they were first out in Paris, with a French audience. That first time was September, "La Rentrée," end of vacation and start of the fall season, when there's a great selection, but October isn't bad. And also Paris has new movies from the US naturally and from Asia and Europe with French subtitles. I did not read the subtitles of YOUTH, which is in English. But I can watch a Chinese movie with French subtitles. I wish the French movies had French subtitles!
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-24-2015 at 04:44 AM.

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    I envy you so much; being able to travel. I love to travel and would sell my eye teeth just to see Florence before I die (bucket list). I think if I ever went to Paris, I would do two things (beside get rid of my wife and wander off on my own). I would spend an entire day in the Louvre. And I would walk up and down the Champs Elysees just listening to people speaking French (hopeless Romantic at heart). I wonder how some aspects of "The Intern" play in places like Europe (is Facebook big there, too?) or in China where Facebook is probably non-existent. The value of older people in society is often lost in American culture.

    I just wanted to add the one metal sculpture, "Picasso's dog" so labeled by the Chicago press, is quite impressive to see at the Civic Center. I was there at the dedication. The Marc Chagall is impressive, too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Picasso

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en...urseasons.html
    Last edited by cinemabon; 10-26-2015 at 02:03 PM.
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    I should go to the Picasso Museum here in Paris, which has been reopened after years of refurbishing, but having back trouble now and museums are tricky for that, so waiting for a friend who's coming next week. The Louvre has to be visited, but it's too beg for me. I like the smaller museums, except that I love the Musee Pompidou. I'm in a different part of town from the Champs Elysees, but there are many lovely streets to wander along and you might hear more French on them. I hope you get to do your bucket list things. I do sell my eye teeth to do this traveling and spend so much time in NYC -- it's a priority and I make sacrifices to do it.

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