Director Nancy Meyers returns to her trademark style with “The Intern”

As in most of her films, Meyers creates likeable characters

Carly Travis, Opinions Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Nancy Meyers has done it again.

If you’ve seen any of the writer/director’s films, you know the gist: picturesque apartments, ideal careers, and an Anna Wintour approved wardrobe.

“It’s Complicated” was filmed in sunny Santa Barbra and Meryl Streep lived in the most coveted ranch. Meyers also did “Parent Trap.” Remember that estate in Napa Valley or the 3-story town house in London? The director’s taste is impeccable and she didn’t skimp on “The Intern.” All of the above was applied and perfected in Meyers’ latest flick.

In the movie, Anne Hathaway plays Jules Ostin, founder of a successful e-commerce site, owner of everyone’s dream Brooklyn brownstone, and mom to the daughter who delivers the cute one-liners.

We all know the brown-eyed beauty as Princess of Genovia in “The Princess Diaries” and watched her shrink, sing, and sweep the Academy Awards for Les Miserables, but this character felt more down to earth.

“Annie,” which is how Meyers refers to Hathaway in an interview with Joanna Goddard (resident Brooklyn mom and writer of the popular blog “Cup of Jo”), takes on this role with consciousness and humility. She is not seen as the villain that most female boss ladies are portrayed as in films. She wasn’t wearing shoulder pads or a tight bun at the nape of her neck either. As viewers, that’s what we’re used to, Meyers explained.

Hathaway continues to defy stereotypes in the film. Her characters nods towards modern feminist issues, but not in an overdone way. We don’t hear a monologue about how women are treated unequally from men in the workplace in every scene. However, the disparity is relevant.

Meyers deliberately puts a woman in charge in the office and a man in charge in the home, an uncomfortable concept for our culture. We see this conflict play out throughout the movie proving that the stiletto wearing mom (Hathaway) isn’t so perfect. Humility is key when dealing with any character who’s in a place of power. When we hear Hathaway talk herself down to earth, she becomes less alienated and more aligned with her audiences personalities.

Needless to say, co-star Robert De Niro (whom Hathaway admitted she now refers to as “Bob” in an interview on “Live with Kelly and Michael”) plays a big part of grounding his colleague. De Niro plays the very prompt, very classic Ben Whittaker who Hathaway hires as part of their senior internship program (senior as in citizen, not high school or college). Side note: how clever is that! Who else to thank than the brilliance of Nancy Meyers.

Anyway, De Niro acts in a way he’s never acted before. We know him as the mobster side kick in “Goodfellas” as well as the Eagle’s fan and father in “Silver Lining’s Play Book,” among countless other roles. In “The Intern,” De Niro is quiet. In fact, he doesn’t need to say much; his wrinkled facial expressions say it all.

As Hathaway’s intern in the film, he teaches her patience and understanding all while listening, something that we can all practice in our daily lives. De Niro is kind and sensitive, yet instills a good sense of humor throughout the movie.

As someone who is usually turned off by movies starring those over 70, I was pleasantly surprised. Well, it’s hard not to like any movie starring “Bob,” but Meyers creates a senior citizen who has so much more to him than society wants to give him.

He’s retired but not content, widowed but still hopeful. This lightness is refreshing in an older character, making him relatable to an audience of any age.

Many films rely on common conflicts: heartbreak, drug and alcohol abuse, or crazy wives who plot their own kidnapping, only to make their unforgivingly hot husbands go mad. But Nancy Meyers doesn’t need to abide by Hollywood standards. She knows that good writing and timeless, versatile actors is all you need. She’s kept her classic aesthetic throughout her career and I applaud her for that.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email