Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 25th September, 2015
Time : 121 minutes
Director, Writer : Nancy Meyers; Music : Theodore Shapiro
Starring : Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, JoJo Kushner, Andrew Rannellls, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Jason Orley, Christina Scherer
Do we tend to write people off when they are retired ? Are women, who’re heading major companies, treated differently by society versus men ?
This is about a senior citizen, Robert De Niro, at the spry age of 70, taking up a job as an intern in an ecommerce clothing company, and getting assigned to work with Anne Hathaway, who founded and runs the company.
The reason why this is happening, the company is hiring senior citizens (they hire 2 other senior interns) aren’t totally clear but the video that Robert makes, outlining his reasons for wanting to join, makes for compelling viewing.
Anne is also a bit over her head, trying to manage the rapid growth over the past two years, making sure the company stays on track especially with the VCs pushing for more experienced management. She has a notoriously short attention span (her meetings are slotted by her assistant, Christina, for 3 minutes or 5 and the really long ones last 15) and is also trying to manage her work-life balance with her very cute daughter, JoJo, and stay-at-home husband, Anders.
The office has an interesting mix of people – Andrew, Adam, Jason among others – and Zack is the normal intern ie of normal age. Rene Russo is the office masseuse (something like that could get me back to corporate life) and definitely gets Robert’s attention in more ways than one.
In such a scenario, Robert, who’s worked over 40 years before retiring, with his suit / tie / calculator / vintage briefcase, has to figure out ways to be useful and get the attention of his harum-scarum boss…
What I found fascinating is that despite a) Nothing major happening over the course of the film b) Or him He doing anything extraordinary (doesn’t turn into an all kowing superman, yet via conversations, normal day-to-day situations (a driver who plays hooky, a father who falls sick) we experience what it’s like to interact with seniors – their values, thoughts (some old-fashioned), way of working.
It makes us question whether we as a society really do tap into the vast knowledge bank of our retirees, whether we could use them more fruitfully rather than writing them off, being dismissive. Also, looking at Anne’s rise and her family situation, it raises questions re the glass ceiling, how supportive we are of full-time working moms. And as the snide remarks of the school moms, illustrate, whether we’re really ready for the stay-at-home dad scenario ?
I’m not sure I agree with all that was shown – Anne’s need for a father figure was perhaps a bit too convenient, Robert’s rise in her eyes a bit too rapid and by giving her certain frailities (tears, needing company on a business trip to San Francisco) we perhaps are only reinforcing some stereotypes about women at work. But overall, aided by a peppy soundtrack and snappy dialogue, it’s a hugely enjoyable watch.