As 2015 comes to an end one can’t help but look back at the year that’s gone by and marvel at the films that have enthralled, moved and inspired us.As always,some films were boring while some were exciting, some made us tear our hair out while some were thought provoking.It’s been an interesting year for cinephiles and while several films have provoked deep critical thinking and introspection,some films have also been light and simple, yet enjoyable. One of the finest examples of the second kind is ‘The Intern’,starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.
So the film is fairly simple in its premise. A new age start-up run by the cool and hip founder Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) decides to hire senior citizens as interns as a part of its social outreach program. The hiring of the intern Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) leads to several changes in the workplace, especially in the life of Jules herself. Ben is ironically not only a breath of fresh air but is also someone who seamlessly fits into Jules’ personal life as well. Through him, the viewer gets an entry into Jules’ domestic life, with her stay at home husband (Anders Holm) and their young daughter.
However, this seemingly simplistic premise also raises several important questions.The complexities of the plot are highlighted by the focus on the two most obvious themes;the use of modern technology versus the old school way of doing things and what it means to be a woman trying to balance the pressures of work and home.These themes are quite universal and encompass several of the conflicts faced by our generation.In fact, when Jules talks about it being 2015 and shows her frustration at the resentment shown towards ‘career women’,she echoes our sentiments about how sexism affects people at the workplace and outside.
Apart from the beautiful dynamic shared by the two main leads,both Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro have outdone themselves in terms of their acting.Ben Whittaker’s character is especially a great example of the virtues and values of the older generation.Seeing him on-screen is a visual treat because his actions and words are extremely calming and are reminiscent of an old world charm.He shows the viewer the worth of communication and following the principles true to one’s heart.The way he influences Jules’ life is also beautiful to watch.Jules on the other hand is someone who is modern and driven but also extremely conscientious and committed.Her work ethics as well as her behaviour with her family is commendable,because she like the best of us,struggles to keep the ball rolling despite the mountain of pressure that looms over her.
Although certain critics have branded the film as too soft and breezy and have criticised the film for being confused due to the questions it raises about women and feminism,the film actually has moments of real depth and honesty.Yes,its take on feminism is confusing but that is because gender equality is not a black or white issue which can always be dealt with easily.The history of sexism in society and the influence it still has on the world around us cannot be dismissed or taken casually.And maybe a film doesn’t always need to make a bold statement, it can simply raise questions which are for us to answer to ourselves. Overall,what is best is that the film is by and large devoid of stereotypes and it is a credit to the director,Nancy Meyers,that the film does not seek to judge and label characters and situations.That’s what makes the film credible,engaging and most of all,entertaining.