In September 2015 a comedy-drama film called “The Intern” was released in theatres. Starring Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway, it told the story of a retired, 70 year-old widower (de Niro) who returns to the work-force as part of a new senior intern program launched by a highly successful, internet clothing company, run since its start in her kitchen 18 months earlier, by its hyper-active founder (Hathaway).
The film’s overall box-office gross overall was close to $200 million (budget approx. $35 million). It was a financial success, but tended to be overlooked by many in the industry because of its being tagged as something of a ‘chick flick’, and which didn’t feature IMAX worthy special effects.
But what it does boil down to is a feel good journey, whether you’re male or female.
Part of the appeal is having de Niro play against his familiar, tough guy screen persona, fine-tuned through many such roles. It’s his controlled body language, particularly facial expressions, and easygoing, empathetic, manner which imbue this performance.
Hathaway takes her positive, likeable persona to a richer, more emotionally vulnerable level. While the inspiring pillar of her fast-paced work-place (where she rides a bicycle to get different areas of the large work floor), she gradually takes on a side-role as protégé; while de Niro initially is her intern, his savvy, from life and years of managerial experience, win over her confidence, so that by the end of the film they are almost equals. This is beautifully symbolized in the final scene, cinematically, by Hathaway joining with de Niro in his outdoor Tai Chi group, implicitly leading her through a new field of energy and self-awareness.
With this backdrop, it’s easy to appreciate many life lessons which can emerge:
- It doesn’t hurt to have professional-looking clothing last well beyond your main career years
- Just because you have more than one interviewer, it doesn’t mean the questions will become more apropos or logical
- Bike lanes are not necessary in an office if only the boss is a rider
- Serving as a chauffeur can provide many opportunities for practicing facial contortions unseen
- Having a handkerchief handy, truly, can be one of the last vestiges of male chivalry
- Trust a long-time resident to know how to get there
- Sometimes it’s all in the packaging and size matters
- A good way to be less conspicuous when leaving a hotel due to an alarm is to bring your own bathrobe
- Drinking with the boss is O.K. if the latter gets more inebriated than you do
- On occasion being a bad influence is part of being a good influence
- Manipulation is a craft which can be learned at a young age
- A good, solid briefcase can span generations