Great acting and atmosphere with a not too shabby story.
Ben (Robert De Niro) is a retired 70 year old man who applies to be an intern at a online fashion store to keep busy. He is assigned to be the intern for Jules (Anne Hathaway) the founder of the company. There he teaches his wisdom to Jason (Adam DeVine), Davis (Zack Pearlman) and Lewis (Jason Orley). While following Jules around, he is exposed to her family life which includes stay-at-home husband Matt (Anders Holm) and daughter Paige (JoJo Kushner). Directed by Nancy Meyers.
The trailer shows the potential for the film to be pretty comedic and though there are quite a few funny moments I wouldn’t really call this a comedy. To me it is somewhere between a melodrama/comedy/drama type thing. I really like that this film goes against the patriarchal order of most films (and reality) by having a strong female protagonist. However, it does subtly hint at the question of ‘can she really do it all?’ which is a horrible question to ask as it undermines the female gender by saying women can’t be successful at both work and home life. Plus, Jules is never seen having any other friends, implying that a successful woman can’t have a personal life.
Hathaway gives a solid performance as a hard-working, always busy and on the phone type person with focused drive. She is believable as a person who manages to start a start up and make it successful. De Niro plays a grandfatherly type of character and puts the young boys to shame with his gentleman persona. Thus, with De Niro’s grandfatherly character the film leans more towards a family film rather than a comedy. Not that this is a bad thing, as Meyers does a good job at integrating the different generations together and showing the lessons that each can learn from the other.
The look of the film is also very modern, and I like the cinematography and visual colours of the settings. Camera work does well in establishing the high rise buildings and modern architecture of the city (New York?) which parallels the fast paced generation of online companies. Additionally, the colours are very vibrant which add to the modern concept. The contrast between the mise-en-scene, and other characters place Ben as a creature in endangerment of being extinct, a dying breed of chivalry.
Although Ben’s character does add some taste to the film, the ending inevitably ends with him (the white male) giving advice or having his say that inspires the solution. This reminds me a little of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, when the father (another white male) gives his verdict that everyone must listen to and agree on. It is not so extreme in this case which I attribute to progress for gender equality!
Overall, the film is an entertaining feel good movie for a relaxing Friday night.
PROS: Acting, story, visual style
CONS: Struggling female character, white patriarchy
I give this a 7/10.
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