Movie review: It’s humor and charm for Hathaway and De Niro in ‘The Intern’

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Anne Hathaway on living, loving and dying.

After a string of serious movies – including Interstellar and her Oscar-winning turn in Les Misérables – Anne Hathaway has returned to the genre that helped launched her career: the comedy.

NANCY Meyers is known for her obsession with kitchens — sun-drenched, timelessly chic architectural marvels that provide a safe haven for all the director’s characters. The actress looks bemused by the question – inspired by a scene in her new film comedy, The Intern – and responds: “You want my death plan?” “I don’t want to be buried,” she goes on to explain in her soothing, effervescent tone. “I either want to be cremated or I hear they can now bury you at the root of a tree, so I’d like that too – as long as it’s a protected tree that’s not going to become a piece of Ikea furniture. “I’m so sorry, Steven!” she adds, grinning at her publicist in the New York boutique hotel room where she is holding court. “You know this is so going to be the headline by the way: ‘Anne Hathaway wants to be cremated!’ ” The actress from the Brooklyn borough of the city knows all about headlines. She plays fashion website founder Jules Ostin Nancy Meyers’ The Intern, a comedy about Hathaway’s successful entrepreneur and the caring friendship she forms with her “senior intern,” a widower named Ben (Robert De Niro). “She’s juggling a million things … she seems to be losing grip on all these things she’s worked so hard for,” says Hathaway of her character. “And then something wonderful happens. She’s been making them since she became an overnight sensation and every little girl’s role model as an unknown 19-year-old actress starring opposite Julie Andrews in Disney’s fairytale drama, The Princess Diaries. While her contemporaries were in and out of rehabs and parties, Hathaway was working hard to capitalise on the role with nuanced performances in films such as Brokeback Mountain (2005), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and her 2013 Oscar-winning role in Les Miserables.

In the video above, with the help of public records and comparable properties, we estimated the cost of the homes that Meyers’ opulent characters inhabit. Now 32, she’s matured on and off screen, having overcome a traumatic chapter of public embarrassment in 2008 when her boyfriend of four years, Raffaello Follieri, was arrested for defrauding investors of millions of dollars by claiming connections to the Vatican. “It was bad, but I was a babypants and now I understand a lot more about people and myself,” she told Instyle recently. Anne Hathaway, as founder of the company, is an equally limited collection of traits: Her Jules is also good and true, though not so solid, because she’s young and overburdened and trying to have it all. Hathaway married actor and jewellery designer Adam Shulman in 2012 and seems pleased when I comment on how comfortable she looks in her own skin these days. “Some people who start off acting when they are very young, they do a brilliant job of navigating and becoming themselves in the public eye. At the Brooklyn loft space that houses her clothing business, she sails from one meeting to another on an old-fashioned bicycle, wearing lots of white (another Meyers staple, despite her characters quaffing coffee and red wine) and a vaguely overwhelmed expression.

At home, she exchanges brief hellos and goodbyes with her precocious daughter (JoJo Kushner) and chafing stay-at-home husband (Anders Holm) before diving back into work. Her company’s “senior intern program,” initiated by Jules’ adviser (Andrew Rannells, whose charm goes largely unused here), is something of which this workaholic boss initially wants no part. But now I don’t really think about, ‘am I sharing my true self or not’, because I am just being myself.” In , written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give), Hathaway embraces the life of workaholic wife and mother Jules Ostin, who has created an online fashion website that’s taking off.

Robert De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who ditches the boredom of retirement to apply for a senior internship at her company and ends up teaching more than he learns. “It took me weeks not to feel tongue-tied,” she says. “You hear the name Bob De Niro and you are just like ‘legend’, so I guess I was expecting someone larger than life, and when I met Bob I realised that he was just this sweet, humble, deeply present, passionate person, so it was a lovely surprise to me.” De Niro seems equally smitten in his own understated way. “She’s really great and I was so impressed when I saw her at a benefit in Washington a few years ago, especially that she could sing and dance like that, and I told her that when we met – that I can’t do that at all!'” Meyers describes Hathaway as “the classic A student. She’s super prepared and gets how to be light when we need that, and very authentic and emotional when the scene calls for that too.” Both sides are in evidence today.

When asked whether she’s looking forward to having a family, Hathaway says deadpan: “I’m always looking forward whenever you ask that question!” But minutes later, she looks surprisingly vulnerable when asked about a backlash that surfaced during her 2013 Academy Awards season as her red carpet choices were derided and the hashtag “Hathahaters” was trending on Twitter. “I relate to Jules in this film being a young person with a ton of responsibility and feeling over your head but trying to look like you know what you are doing. Adam DeVine (Pitch Perfect), Zack Pearlman and Jason Orley are a Greek chorus of mop-topped hipsters, naturally drawn to Ben as Brooklynites are to all things vintage. I learned from making mistakes then dusting myself off with a little grace and dignity and trying again to fail upwards.” “Annie”, to her friends, is wearing a chic black halter-neck top and fitted black cigarette trousers with a belt displaying a sparkly red heart with an arrow thrust through it.

Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), whose role must have been bigger originally, appears for a nanosecond to interview Ben — and the moment when he realises one ought not ask a 70-year-old applicant, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” is amusing. Rene Russo is luminous as the company masseuse and the object of widower Ben’s affections, though his visible arousal during her chair massage — which earns him high-fives from his bros — is one of the film’s ickier moments. (In real life, her next move might be a sexual-harassment claim, rather than acceptance of his dinner invitation.) There’s a story going around this week about how De Niro bristled when an interviewer asked him about acting “on autopilot.” After seeing The Intern, you understand why he’d want to dodge that question, because the role demands little more of him than impeccable posture and a grandfatherly eye twinkle. I certainly understand the driven nature of my character and being ambitious and in competition with herself, but I like that my life is not so driven by work any more.” If you want to see her riled, ask the usually serene star to comment on the gender disparity in Hollywood. “It’s frustrating and I hate reading those statistics but it also ignites a fire in my belly,” she says of the hacked Sony emails that confirmed male leads are always paid more than female leads. “I would like to give 3 billion cheers to Jennifer Lawrence for negotiating the first $20 million payday for an actress.

So I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time for everybody else.” #3 Her TV debut was in a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate commercial filmed in 1997 in Maplewood, New Jersey, and her first lead role was in the short-lived 1999 TV drama Get Real. #4 After her then boyfriend’s arrest in 2008, the FBI confiscated Hathaway’s personal journals because she had participated in his foundation’s development and was a financial donor. After production wrapped up, she was presented with that padding, which she jokingly nicknamed “Andy’s ass”. #6 The actress once admitted that if she had not been successful as an actress, she would have pursued a career as a psychoanalyst. Jenner is a 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medalist who had been known as Bruce before she became the highest-profile American to transition publicly from male to female this year.

What was your morning like?” and I’m like, “I’m good, you know, drove into the city, not too much traffic, the coffee tasted good, all in all a pretty good morning, how was yours?” And he’s like “I met with these investors about this hotel I’m building.” [Laughs] That is our relationship. The 65-year-old Jenner starred in the television documentary series “I Am Cait,” and before that was known to reality TV audiences for years as part of the celebrity Kardashian family. How did it feel to go from this place where you’re in a spaceship set and wearing a space suit on Interstellar, to a working on a movie where your character works at a Pinterest-perfect company and wears beautiful designer clothes?

It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when somebody has a wardrobe, where everything is heightened, and they have a different outfit in every single scene. I’m not just worried about people that might dismiss it as a chick flick, I’m also worried about people that might look at it and say “Oh, that looks sweet.” People are so snarky nowadays, and I feel that they might roll their eyes or mouth vomit or something.

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