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Movie Review

The Intern

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: John Walker

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
2 hr. 1 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 25, 2015 (wide—3,150+ theaters)
DVD: January 19, 2016
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

feeling unfulfilled and bored in retirement

bias toward older workers and elders

value of older, more experienced people

value of mentoring / mentors


difficulties of being a widower

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

wives and mothers with extremely busy and demanding careers

What about feminism and women’s lib?

stay at home fathers

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Sex outside marriage


LUST—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Anne HathawayJules Ostin
Robert De NiroBen Whittaker
Nat Wolff
Rene Russo
Adam DeVine … Jason
Andrew Rannells
Drena De Niro … Hotel Manager
more »
Director: Nancy Meyers—“The Holiday” (2006), “Something's Gotta Give” (2003), “The Parent Trap” (1998)
Producer: Waverly Films
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Ben (Robert De Niro) is at a lull in his retirement life. He has done those things that most of us desire in our retirement, but seems to feel bored and wants more. He happens upon an advertisement for senior interns at an up and coming Internet retailer, and this is where our story begins. Ben is plopped into the life of Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the workaholic CEO of the company and reluctant recipient of Ben’s help. It takes time for Ben and Jules’ relationship to gain traction, but slowly these two dissimilar people develop a friendship. Ben takes on the role of tidying up the loose ends in Jules’ life, and, as he is given the chance, begins to contribute to Jules’ personal and business life in beneficial ways.

Ben is an upright guy who tries to share his wisdom and character with the coworkers around him. He works hard, dresses nice, treats people with respect, and, in turn slowly, gains the respect and friendship of those around him. Ben gets involved in a relationship along the way with Fiona (Rene Russo), the company masseuse. He takes on the roles of coworker, chauffeur, advisor, baby sitter, confidant, and friend for Jules.

As happens, when you get involved in someone’s life, Ben sees the flaws, highs, lows and heartaches of Jules’ life. The story leads us to a collision of crises in Jules’ life which involves her choosing a new CEO for the company and a defining point in her marriage. The scene where the resolutions collide is awkward, but allows the story to conclude and ends the movie where it started, more or less.

Morality Issues

The movie takes on numerous issues prevalent for those living today. Women, men, their roles, work, family, sex, infidelity, dating, retirement, honesty, friendship, parenting, prejudices, and drinking are the ones I saw. It feels like it doesn’t really take on many of them very well and wraps things up a little too neatly in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nice tidy endings, but this one did not feel quite satisfying.

The characters are generally “good” people, in our modern day secular sense, but lack the inner convictions that carry them through all aspects of their lives. An example is when Jules inadvertently texts her mother some inner thoughts about her mom, and Ben and his cohorts feel the need to bail her out through illegal actions. It felt like a missed opportunity to face our flaws and wrongdoings by doing instead an “ends justify the means” scenario for laughs (ah, such is the Hollywood way). Ben’s character sleeps with Fiona, and sexual undertones are throughout the movie. Profanity is used throughout, and drinking ranges from casual to all out lewdness and drunkenness.

The big issues that it does take on are fidelity, along with modern day relationships. I get the feeling that the movie wants to pigeon hole the thought of fidelity as men’s problem, instead of one for both men and women to ponder. It paints men as not up to the standard of women, which has its flaws in reason, since infidelity involves a man and woman in the movie. ***SPOILER*** The reason I say this is Jules husband has an affair, and, as they both come to terms with this, I see the “other woman” as insignificant to the story and downplayed, as I feel the director did not want to show this flaw in another woman.

Spiritual Issues

Ben feels misguided and loses his respect when he compromises his character in the movie. I feel that the audience is expected to accept his shortcomings of breaking the law (Romans 13:1-7) and sex outside of marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

The movie also feels a little preachy and tries to shove a feminist slant down your throat while taking pot shots at men, especially the men of the new millennium. It comes up with no real answers and wants to make men feel like it is their fault for failure in marriage.

FEMINISTS—What about feminism and women’s lib? Answer

The fact of the matter is that it has always taken two people, committed to God and each other to make marriage to work. You might say the movie wants us to believe that Jules is having an affair with her work life, and that her husband should be able to live with that. That is not true, and that truth would go for either men or women.

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

MARRIAGE—Some people think formalized marriage is obsolete, is it? Answer

I guess, in the end, Ben becomes Jules’ version of a “guardian angel,” if you will. He lacks the full character of someone who is leading by example or someone who has the consciousness of his own flaws to know and learn from them. He kind of floats into Jules’ life, and, through the time there, takes her from a CEO who feels overwhelmed, to a CEO who is overwhelmed but feels better about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the well-acted story of two very dissimilar people and how they find common ground and become good friends. Just be aware that the story really never takes you to any new places and has no answers.

It is not a movie for children and earns every bit of its PG-13 rating. It is well acted and easy to watch, with a few good laughs thrown in, but never inspires or offers any solutions. I found its language and sexually suggestive scenes a little too far on the offensive side of the fence to recommend it.

Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate to heavy—Oh my G*d (16), Oh G*d (3), God (3), f-word (2), a** *(4), SOB (1) / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This is a pleasant, feel-good comedy/drama, with emphasis on the former. The theme of forgiveness will be appreciated by Christian audiences, as will the lack of violence and pornography. Profanity is brief: One f-word, one SOB and a couple other epithets.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Brian Schacht, age 68 (Canada)
Positive—I was somewhat skeptical about seeing this movie, but glad that I did. I felt that if the roles of Rene Russo and Linda Lavin had been omitted, I could have given it a much better rating. Overall, I felt that the influence that “Ben” had over the young adults in this movie was so impacting. The transformation of several of them was indeed the kind of mentoring that is so needed in the work force today. And, unlike your reviewer, I felt that the ending was appropriate and that “Jules” was indeed learning how to better fulfill her role as CEO and also as wife and mother.

This was one of those rare movies that caused my husband and I to talk about scenes that we felt were so good, days after viewing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Connie, age 70 (USA)
Positive—I was pleased with the quality of this movie. Since I am retired, shy of two years, I was able to relate to what newly retired Ben, played very well by Robert De Niro, thinks and wishes and does. I saw nothing negative or offensive about the character of Jules, played with precise sensitivity by Anne Hathaway, in a role that may be my favorite of her performances. The script is intelligently written, and the tone is upbeat. There are some immoral thematic elements that reflect today’s society, but I saw nothing that I would consider offensive to a mature Christian viewer.

Ben plays a loving and seasoned businessman who is able to balance out Jules” youthful and brilliant entrepreneurship. Their friendship grows and deepens. I enjoyed the sweet tone between these two characters, and the forgiveness that Jules is able to extend at the end of the story. This is a conventional Hollywood feature film with its requisite cliché-ish characterizations, but, nevertheless, I found it to be a pleasant and cheerful movie to watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 69 (USA)
Positive—As secular movies go, this one I rate high. One expects Hollywood to “slam” roles between husbands/wives, mothers/fathers, bosses/workers. Of course, they have their own agenda. One cannot go into a movie blind believing that a non-Christian film would have great Christian morals/values sprinkled throughout the story line. I, for one, as a recently retired educator in the public school setting (my personal mission field), enjoyed this film, along with my dear wife, who is intelligent and serves in a Christian school. We both liked the story line and saw the “wisdom” in the role of the retired widower (father/grandfather-figure, hard working, professionally dressed) who doesn’t shove his ideas down the throats of these younger employer/employees until the right moment. And then it’s done gently to everyone he meets throughout the film.

As believers, we are in the world but not of it. Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. It’s good to be heavenly minded (we don’t think enough about “Home”), but, until then, we are living in the world to be salt and light. If we (believers) get offended easily don’t bother seeing secular films. For me, being discerning, will see a film that looks good and use it as a witnessing opportunity when the opportunity avails itself. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kevin Carr (“retired” educator), age 63 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed the performances of Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro in this film. I liked how it portrayed the friendship developing between these two unlikely people. ***SPOILER*** I think Ben’s advice about Jules” marriage at the end of the film was not necessarily the best, though. Jules did need to spend more time with her family, as her husband was feeling neglected and her daughter did not seem to get enough mommy/daughter time, either.

When Jules considered bringing in a CEO, I really thought that would be a good solution to the problem and enable her to spend much needed time with her family. However, both Ben and her husband convinced her not to hire the CEO and to continue running her business herself as before. Even though her husband had been involved in an affair due to being neglected, he still persuaded his wife not to give up her dreams and happiness by hiring a CEO and relinquishing some control of her company. Ben also told her that she should not make a decision to hire a CEO simply in hopes that her husband would put an end to the affair.

In the end, Jules and her husband did decide to work on their marriage and not get a divorce because of the affair, which I thought was refreshing to see. That kind of resolution to stay in a marriage is rare in a film these days. However, I think there should have been a better solution presented so that Jules could have more balance between running her company and still giving her husband and daughter the time and attention they needed from her. ***END SPOILER***

Overall, I really enjoyed the story though and appreciated the fact that marriage was portrayed as something you shouldn’t just throw away and that Jules and her husband were willing to forgive and reconcile in order to stay true to their commitment to each other.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Nicole, age 30 (USA)
Positive—I think the movie has lots of positive qualities. In fact, I think this is a good movie for Christian teens, parents and grandparents to discuss cultural and generational differences. I think it is a good movie to talk about what a healthy marriage looks like and what reconciliation can be when one spouse is unfaithful. It’s also good to talk about why affairs happen in marriages and how to prevent them.

I can understand why John, the contributor, gave the movie an “offensive” moral rating, but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. Okay, for the first 20 minutes, I laughed so loud and so hard that my teenage millennial asked me why I was laughing. The two cultures clashing and imagining watching the Millennial culture in the eyes of a Baby Boomer cracked me up. I thought the director did a good job of accentuating the differences between the two generations for those first 20 minutes. I wish more of that could have been done to draw out those differences through the rest of the movie. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Dave, age 48 (USA)
Neutral—I realy looked forward to this movie. De Niro and Hathaway are two of my favorite actors, and I was quite interested to see what they would do about a retired 70 year old man among what would seemingly be much more coveted and successful younger peers at a technology company. I was a bit disappointed. The movie turns out to be more about Hathaway’s character than De Niro’s (maybe it should have been called THE 30 YEAR OLD FEMALE INTERNET CEO WITH AN OLD INTERN), although I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, the original script was likely much more fascinating.

As is often the case with newer Academy Award winning leads, the script is often changed to accommodate the desires of the actor, rather than the story. In my opinion, the movie derails as the story becomes more about Hathaway’s character’s struggles than De Niro’s old duck to the Internet age corporate water. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—JB, age 54 (USA)
NeutralThe makers of this movie didn’t seem to understand seniors, character development, business or marriage. The 70 year olds I know are already on Facebook looking at their grandkids’ photos. A character who is an old fashioned gentleman, a “company man” would not miss work and go AWOL, and would not quickly move to sex on the 3rd date. A hard working entrepreneur in charge of over 200 employees would not waste time ranting to coworkers about her mom, would not want company talent spent on covering her true feelings from her mom, would not cry at the office, would not fly across the country to interview a job applicant (the applicant would fly in) and would delegate/hire a middle management, not a new boss.

As for her marriage, the movie says it’s not her fault her husband has an affair, but she works very long hours and asks her husband to do all the chores, and she doesn’t give him any time or attention. Both spouses must invest energy to a good marriage. This movie provides no solution for the root cause of her husband having an affair.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—EK, age 54 (Canada)
Neutral—This movie was somewhat amusing, however it seemed to lack life. At the beginning of the movie, Ben said there was something missing in his life, and it seemed that the solution was to find a job of some sort, which is not bad, in itself. However, if he was going to be a volunteer, I believe there are better ways of doing it than what he chose to do.

The movie had a melancholic feeling throughout, which was saved by a few laughable parts. However, Ben hardly smiled throughout the movie and seemed somewhat emotionless. As for Jules, she didn’t seem to be working very hard at her marriage, was not making time in her busy schedule to spend with her husband, and her husband seemed under appreciated. It was nice that she wanted a career and was so successful, but why did her husband have to give up his successful career? Couldn’t they have both been successful in what they do or reached a better agreement, and both of them could have trained people to take on more of their responsibilities so they would have more time to invest in their relationship?

In fact she didn’t seem to have time for friends either and made it clear to everybody that business was more important.

Being a Christian, I felt disappointed that toward the end of the movie Tai Chii was shown as the answer to one’s inquietudes and worries (I do believe in taking care of one’s body, whether with tai chi or otherwise) but truly, is that what we should consider the road to happiness?

Frankly, this movie bored me, especially over half way into the movie. And I don’t believe the advice that Ben gave to Jules was right, that she should dump her marriage to save her career. What an “easy” solution, when we dislike our circumstance, we automatically dump our spouse as a solution to reach our goals and dreams, not taking into account if a child or children are involved.

How many people when they get older reach the conclusion that they should have spent more time with their families and shown them more love instead of simply running a business and having a successful career?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Jan, age 63 (USA)
Negative—The movie was, in itself, showing …age discrimination against us seniors. I’m the same age of Robert De Niro in this movie that is retired. Unlike Robert De Niro in this movie, I am retired but need supplemental income. I feel I can work many more years full time. This movie makes anyone over 65 as foolish to even look for a full-time job, and we are only fit to work for free as an intern; after all, we are too old to even think about working, when you are over 65.

I could put up with that, but here is the reason we walked out of the movie and demanded our money back. Anne Hathaway plays a young successful woman who in less than two years has made a business thrive with well over 220 employees, who has a homemaker husband that acts like a woman-wife. Robert De Niro is her new boy-employee, old man toy, getting no pay, because, after all, you don’t expect to pay old men like him do you? She goes home at night, and what do we find at home waiting for her while taking care of the children all day and everyday, her sissy husband. It’s bad enough that we see so many women in movies that are top executives or higher. Hollywood puts down homemakers all the time. This time I was surprised that her husband wasn’t bare foot, but he was in the kitchen. The makers of this movie had reverse role playing, like this is common in all marriages. Sick.

The next scene they are in bed and her honey husband telling her that he does hope she gets a good night sleep, because, after all, she is the bread winner. Now I see why a woman wrote and directed this farce. I, and my homemaker wife, gladly walked out of that ridiculous movie during that scene.

If you have a manly husband, don’t take him to this movie. If you have a progressive liberal for a husband, this movie is for him. Unfortunately, there are even Christian women who do not submit to their husbands that would like this feminist movie. Not my Jesus loving wife, she was glad to walk out of that leftist Hollywood movie. She was proud of me for saying, “That’s it, I’m not watching anymore of this feminist movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Robert Garcia, age 68 (USA)
Negative—I was really pleased with Ben (Robert De Niro) at the start of this movie, as he was a man’s man, but he disappointed me at the end. He never gave the proper advice to Jules (Anne Hathaway). I disliked the feminism in this movie. No, Jules husband shouldn’t of had an affair, but Jules was never home. The husband got the blame for this, not Jules for not being there for her family. Ben gave the wrong advice to Jules, when he should of told her to be home for your family, first.

Jules realized it at the end, but still showed the self-centredness of the feminist movement by the husband giving in and saying Jules should be happy.

Another thing, it was all about Jules’ happiness, not her husband’s happiness, and the daughter’s happiness was totally left out. In the Holy Bible, God created men to be the head and provider of the family and the women to submit and take care of their families. Maybe a lot of people think it’s old-fashioned, but God’s Word never changes. Marriages that are based on God’s Word usually last and are happier for the husbands, wives and children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Gloria Sihlis, age 56 (Canada)

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