Who wouldn’t want to learn from a gentle DeNiro?

(From IMDb.com)

(From IMDb.com)

Ben Whittaker has done the travel thing, the exercise thing and the grandpa thing in his retirement world, and none of it is exactly making the 70-year-old widow from Brooklyn happy.

Oh, he’s not complaining, mind you, as he faces the camera explaining exactly how he’s gotten to this point in life as we meet him at the start of The Intern. This, Ben figures as he applies for the new senior internship program at the tech-savvy fashion-selling site run by spread-too-thin innovator Jules Ostin.

Ben was an executive for the phone book people, in marketing and advertising and then printing. And, he’s sharp, still, about most things in life, though maybe not so much about the computer aspects of this job. Eager to learn, though.

Robert DeNiro plays Ben perfectly in this comedy written and directed by Nancy Meyers. He’s both passionate to learn quickly and compassionate to the fate of all around him, cool under fire and hot to represent the men of his generation as role models for the sloppy but well-meaning young guys around him, tender, avuncular and, well, the star of the movie every second of the way even while Anne Hathaway as Jules does very good work in her role.

Jules, you see, is quite smart. Ben can tell with his observant eye as he’s assigned to be her personal intern, even though she comes off as far too busy to give him any assignments and wings her way from one task to another, always stressed, never sleeping, never eating, obsessed and compulsive, too.

He works his way to her good graces with his own smarts and experience — plus his wicked driving experience — and teaches her a thing or two about the job and life along the way.

Ben’s hobnobbing socially with the young males in the office is fun. They get a wicked kick out of his pure enjoyment from the unexpected rub down he receives from the office message expert played by Renee Russo, and, take that, whippersnappers, she hands him her card and number and tells him to give her a call. His relationship with Jules’ daughter and husband is endearing, too, when hubby invites him in from the front curb for morning coffee, and eventually, he ends up driving cute daughter to a birthday party.

But it’s the way DeNiro and Hathaway make Ben and Jules dance with Meyers’ vision of a harried young woman executive and a man who’s old in years only willing to help her not only cope, but grow, that makes The Intern so enjoyable across the board. A Sunday matinée crowd at the Regal Cinemas theater in the Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA cut a swath through the generations represented on-screen, AARP through Millennial, and everybody walked out smiling.

What’s the best internship you’ve ever had or mentored, and why? What’s your favorite Anne Hathaway role, and why? What’s your favorite Robert DeNiro role, and why?

27 thoughts on “Who wouldn’t want to learn from a gentle DeNiro?

  1. I’ve only seen Ann Hathaway in Princess Diaries, nothing since she’s been older. DeNiro I like in Godfather and Awakenings, and a movie that surprised me, Everybody’s Fine.
    I’m looking forward to this movie, thanks for the review


  2. He’ll always be the young Vito Corleone to me, soft spoken yet powerful. He’s good in everything, and has great comedy timing. I’m looking forward to this one. I started in a new career at 49, and took training from 20- somethings, learned a lot, and taught them a few things about life along the way. I hope to relate to this story. Thanks for the review, and the use of the word “avuncular” ! ☺


  3. My favorite Robert DeNiro role was the baseball player in “Bang the Drum Slowly,” but I also loved him in “Midnight Run,” “Raging Bull” and gosh, Mark, pretty much everything I’ve ever seen him in (although I’ve deliberately skipped some clunkers like “Rocky and Bullwinkle”). I thought Anne Hathaway was amazing in “Les Miserables. Okay, Mark, I’ve answered two of your questions so it’s only fair if you answer one of mine: Why haven’t you stopped by my blog for my 1000th post and for a performance of my 17-year-old son doing stand-up in a Harvard Square comedy club? Great post, by the way.


  4. I love how you see all the movies 🙂 It makes it so much easier for me! I’ll be renting this one. I like Robert DeNiro in pretty much everything, and I loved Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs.

    The only internship I’ve had was during student teaching. It wasn’t great. I was chosen by one teacher who became quite ill, and the teacher I ended up with only took me so the school would still get its funding. She wasn’t pleased with me, I wasn’t pleased with her. I got my A, but neither of us enjoyed our time together. Ironically, we had a lot of the same clothes and shoes and we both ate yogurt daily. That’s about the all I can say we had in common.


    • Your student teaching sounds like a sour time, Joey. Maybe that was one of the elements that led you away from the profession? Perhaps of the teacher you’d chosen hadn’t taken ill, things would have turned out differently. Something to muse on, because we’ll never know.

      For two years I had a gig reviewing movies for another site here in Syracuse, but we parted ways earlier this year when they decided they no longer wanted to pay me. So I decided to continue doing it here at my own place for several reasons: I enjoy writing in the review format, upon the two decades that I did that for concerts and recordings for the big daily in town; I dig going to one first-run movie and week; and I’m in the process of writing a Food and Film book with my blogger friend Liz from Minneapolis, so I want to keep my voice in the realm. Here’s Liz’s link, by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds great! It’s good to show a 70 year old man not as a doddering codger or a “hey, you kids, get off my lawn” type, but as a competent, functioning member of society. I imagine it would be a fun role to play for DeNiro. And thank God he doesn’t wind up with Anne; that would have been ridiculous. I must say, I can’t picture her playing a mom, though.


    • She played a woman fighting to be a titan of industry, a mom and a wife. It was a good role for her as well, Kerbey. And, yeah, three cheers to Hollywood for putting those two together as intimate confidantes in a non-romantic sense, as can happen between generations and genders in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, you definitely seem to have enjoyed the movie. To be honest, when I first saw it, I just kind of wondered if it wasn’t a step down for DeNiro, even though it seems like it could be fun. Maybe I should give it a second chance, although, in reality, don’t think there is enough about it that would be compelling for the kids.


  7. Hathaway is one of my favorite actors. I saw the trailers for this on TV and thought I would like it. After reading your review Mark, I am sure i will like it. I’ve seldom had a mentor although I have mentored many. I often found my self in conflict with those above me. i must confess I haven’t found anyone I would like to be my mentor.


  8. i’m interested in seeing this one – i love deniro in his gentle roles, as well as his tough ones – i was an advertising intern, and mentored them as part of my job as i became a full time employee, and i loved the mentoring part )

    Liked by 1 person

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