I first heard of this film on the Graham Norton Show, when Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro were promoting it on the same sofa as Tom Hiddleston was promoting Crimson Peak. Having seen both, this film is definitely more my cup of tea. It’s an endearing tale about an elderly man looking for a new purpose in life, and a busy female CEO who loves her job but struggles to keep up with all the things going on in her life. It was directed by Nancy Meyers, and it felt very refreshing to watch. I felt like I actually sympathised with the characters, and I wanted them to succeed, which is the opposite of what I usually feel.
70 year old Ben grows bored of retirement, and misses having “somewhere to be” every day. He applies for an internship program for the elderly, and everyone is impressed by him. He is assigned to work under Jules (Anne Hathaway), who is not keen on the idea. She’s very guarded, but he works his way into her life and to her heart. He helps her through some difficult times in her life, and he finally feels like he has a purpose in life. Especially because he finds love! Will the company be the victim of its own success? Will Ben keep up with the young ones? You’ll just have to watch it to find out.
Robert de Niro’s character is popular with all the office, and loves helping the people around him. He’s very easy to warm to. Anne Hathaway’s character is the stereotypical young CEO, a woman of the 21st century. Her husband looks after their young daughter, but the long working hours put a strain on their relationship. Other lovable characters include the younger interns, who respect Ben’s experience but find him a little befuddling. Jules’ daughter is also a comedy highlight of the film, and seems very wise for her young age.
The film got 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics gave it good to average reviews. One critic pointed out that the critics may not have loved it, because most film critics are men. You can see why they may not have enjoyed the film, as it was quite feminist in its approach to relationships, women in the media and women in the workplace. It was actually quite critical of masculinity and the patriarchy, which I thought was very thought provoking. Not a lot of films are brave enough to do this, so it was very refreshing to see on the big screen.
You might have missed the film being shown in cinemas, but it will be out on DVD very soon. It should appeal to everyone – it might not be the Avengers, but it’ll still entertain you for a couple of hours. Plus, you might fall in love yourself, either with Anne Hathaway or with Robert De Niro himself. Who knows – maybe if you ever intern, you’ll want to be as great as a 70 year old man working for an e-commerce company he knows little about. Don’t worry, he’s surprisingly good for his age.