by: Chrysa Smith
Just when you’re feeling out-of-touch with newfangled technologies like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and the like, I recommend a good dose of the new Hollywood release: The Intern. Starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, I came away from it with a great take on an older person’s worth within a younger person’s world.
As a retired widow, DeNiro is looking for meaning in his life. Work is gone. His spouse is gone. And he is a very capable 70 year old man with much to still offer the world. When he stumbles upon an ad for a high tech fashion company looking for senior citizen interns, he takes his chances and makes the video (rather than the traditional call).
Hathaway is the company president. Much like Google is represented, Hathaway rides through the company’s hip Brooklyn factory on her cool, white bicycle (a lot like mine, in fact)—past the rows and rows of customer service folks and other personnel that enable her empire to run smoothly. Apple computers and shiny white desks are surrounded by brick walls and tall, bare windows—aka urban chic.
The s….hits the fan when Hathaway’s juggling act begins to unravel and her executive/wife/mother roles collide. Meanwhile, DeNiro, who was considered as part of just another crazy marketing scheme to utilize the elderly, fumbles his way through the high-tech superhighway, not seemingly to do very much at all in his 8 hours on the job. In fact, Hathaway finds him most distasteful, because, after all, why does she need someone following her around? But what she fails to understand, as many milleniums do, is the value of personal interaction and the ability to read relationships and situations.
Hathaway’s husband is the stay-at-home father, whose masculinity and career have been relinquished for the sake of her success. But, her failure to be around contributes to his affair, which sends a cool, professional and rather arrogant Hathaway reeling, as she attempts to deal with failure—at least in one aspect of her life. Her other struggle is with investors wanting her to bring in a seasoned CEO to help take some of the pressure off her. A Perfectionist, Hathaway finally yields to the always present, always helpful, always there DeNiro—-who picks up all the pieces of her torn-apart puzzle. And in the end, the elderly gentlemen with decades of experience, a lack of high tech sparkle and an old briefcase saves the day—-offering great advice, melding relationships in the office and putting Hathaway’s priorities back in the right order.
Perhaps, with all of our decades of life behind us, we can stand a few steps back and wait for the time when we can say to the milleniums, —don’t worry, we’ve got it, we’ve done it, we CAN still help.