A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that despite being a bit formulaic, The Intern -- which stars Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway -- is a deeply felt, heartwarming movie about friendship, careers, and marriage. Although those are fairly serious themes, the movie takes a light touch with them, and teens may find its messages inspiring, particularly the reminders to believe in yourself and to learn from those who've come before you (though they may also take issue with its lack of diversity). Expect some swearing (mainly "ass" and its cousin, "badass," as well as "bitch" and "s--t"), and drinking (once to the point of getting drunk and throwing up), and a few suggestive jokes about erections and sex (plus kissing and a situation involving cheating).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower living in Brooklyn who's grown tired of retirement. He's tried everything from tai chi to yoga to Mandarin lessons and has visited his son and his family across the country many times. So when Ben spots a flier announcing that an e-commerce fashion site is looking for "senior interns" -- retirees willing to work as interns -- it seems fated for him to get the position. And he does. His assignment: to assist the website's founder, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). But Jules -- who's juggling motherhood, wifehood, adulthood, and an e-commerce site beholden to venture capitalists who are agitating for her to hire a more experienced CEO -- doesn't think she needs an intern. Until she's proven wrong.
Is it any good?
THE INTERN wears its very big heart on its (stylish) sleeve, and it's none the worse for it. Director Nancy Meyers knows how to examine the real concerns women face -- how to have a fulfilling career and personal life while continuing to grow as a person -- with humor, compassion, and grace. Hathaway is winning as Jules, a woman who may be on the brink of a nervous breakdown but is so compassionate that you can't help but adore her despite her flaws. She meets her match in Ben, portrayed by De Niro with such warmth you can't help but love him, too.
The movie isn't without its flaws, including a stunning lack of diversity for a movie set in NYC and an oversimplified exploration of the challenges of juggling work and marriage. Nonetheless, Meyers deserves credit for even tackling this thorny subject -- including the tired but sadly still present tug-of-war between stay-at-home moms and working moms -- and presenting a nuanced approach to marital challenges. Ditto for attempting to portray a successful young businesswoman who's neither cut-throat nor ineffective, just overwhelmed and needing to find herself in the process, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Intern addresses the idea of the generation gap and sharing experiences. What have the two main characters learned during their careers, and how has that positioned them to learn from each other? What do they gain from each other's experiences?
What is the film saying about women in the workplace and their struggles? How does it address the idea of "having it all" (or even "balancing it all")? Do you agree with the choices Jules makes?
How is drinking depicted in the movie? Is it glamorized at all?
Is Jules a role model -- both to viewers and to other characters in the movie? If yes, what makes her so? If not, what makes you doubt her? How does the film depict her as wife, mother and daughter?
- In theaters: September 25, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: January 19, 2016
- Cast: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Nat Wolff
- Director: Nancy Meyers
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some suggestive content and brief strong language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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