Movie Reviews

‘The Intern’ Review: A Role You Wouldn’t Think De Niro Would Ever Play

De Niro and Hathaway in The Intern
De Niro and Hathaway in The Intern

Even if not for the sake of the awkward and yet refreshing role Robert De Niro plays , ‘The Intern’ is not a movie you would want to re-watch—but you wouldn’t totally hate it.

The lapses in the storyline and disconnect from the many things that would actually happen in real life in certain scenarios clearly put the movie out there as one of those forcefully meandered to achieve a specific ‘happy ending.’

From the start, ‘The Intern’ comes off as something meaningful but take De Niro out of the picture and it would come crumbling on the floor as an ordinary work and life crisis movie—this time, with a young mother of one taking in the stress while her ‘stay at home’ husband brings up with their beautiful daughter.

In ‘The Intern,’ Robert De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a well lived 70 year old retired widower bored with the amount of time he has on his hand. His earlier escape routine of always being on the go seemed perfect until he came across an advertisement by a new local internet start-up looking for interns—and this time, it was not convention, the company wanted senior ‘citizen’ interns.

With little to do and well in shape for his age, De Niro managed to climb the first hurdle of sending out his application which demanded applicants to record and upload a short video on Youtube, talking about themselves…

De Niro’s first day as an intern was pretty interesting—and more interesting for the fact that he was assigned to work with the company’s boss-Jules Ostin (played by Anne Hathaway). Jules’ internet based clothing shop have had a huge unexpected success jump and with that comes a lot of work pressure but her dedication and love for her booming start-up were intact.

Hathaway in The Intern
Hathaway in The Intern

Jules Ostin wouldn’t notice or remember much of the important people or things she had previously discussed but she always remembered and grumbled about the huge office junk that sat in the middle of the open-plan office. Then De Niro without anything to do for his busy assigned boss cleared the mess—and that got the boss’ attention.

What started off between De Niro and Ostin as a stiff office interaction grew to become somewhat like a father-daughter relationship—with De Niro guiding Jules through some of the difficult decisions she had to make at work and home. It was an interesting relationship and the chemistry between De Niro and Hathaway was great.

That’s the deep and substance of the movie—now there were several cheap comedy scenes injected to perhaps keep the audience awake with attentive. Without those young wacky office interns who would solicit for different forms of help from De Niro, you may well have  fallen asleep watching De Niro become a smooth talker and actually caring about a total stranger who does not even take interest in talking to her own mother.

The comedy was frail; from the interns becoming burglars to save the butt of their boss to a scene where a leg massage was confused for a BJ, everything at one point becomes fairly irrelevant —and then the storyline is pushed back on track.


The dialogues are plainly what we are used to and would expect in an office full of 20-somethings—and also in a clean relationship between a young woman and a well lived adult. But for once, we were served with a comforting relationship between a man and a woman, devoid of sexual connotations or ulterior motives.

But you can’t let pass writer/director-Nancy Meyers’ uncompromising desire for ‘utopianism’ as the movie wheeled against all odds to end on a ‘happy note’—both at home and office when the developed scenarios would have likely fetch an unpleasant breakdown somewhere.

They say it’s a comedy but I guess it depends on what you find funny. The movie wasn’t much of a laugh but at least, De Niro was not disappointing, always great—no matter the character.

Critics’ Rating;



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