LIVE LIFE BY YOUR OWN RULES
What would you do if you found yourself retired, then realized that you just weren’t ready? If you’re Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) from The Intern, you’d start all over again from the bottom.
Enter Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) who owns her own online fashion empire. Her company has recently put out an ad for senior interns – and when I say senior, I mean men and women of a certain age – to help out around the office. Much to Jules chagrin, she’s been assigned Ben and has to set a good example to her other employees by agreeing to work with him.
Ben is very old school and comes into work every day in his suit and tie toting his briefcase. He even carries a handkerchief in his pocket, not for his own personal use, but to aid any damsel who might be in distress. And make no mistake, even in the age of independent women, the stresses of the job can still get to a girl sometimes. Ben doesn’t tell tales out of school, and he teaches the other young staff members a thing or two about work ethics and acceptance.
EXPERIENCE & WISDOM MATTER
One of the things that attracted me to this movie is the fact that 70 year old Ben still has a lot to offer. And I don’t think he’s alone. There are many of us 60+ men and women out there, who still have energy to spare. Add this to our life experience and wisdom we’re more than happy to share with the younger generation, it’s a winning combination. We all need to be open to what each generation has to offer the world and work together to find balance. The idea of, “Out with the old. In with the new,” is not always the right way to go. While the younger generation has lots of energy and new ideas, some of the older ideas are worth considering as well. Like when Ben protects Jules from interoffice gossip by allowing himself to look bad instead. Or teaching his young friends how to show respect to a woman. His experience also becomes helpful to Jules as they try to figure out their target online market. Not bad for a senior citizen. Most importantly, Ben was the only one who believed that Jules could have it all, when she was being pressured to get a CEO to help run the company. It didn’t help that she felt guilty that her at home husband was having an affair because of her long hours. She thought that perhaps if she was home more, things would be better. The problem was, she didn’t want to give up control of her own company; and why should she just because her husband had drifted? But, she felt she had to do something to save her marriage.
FIGURING IT OUT
I think women are still trying to figure it all out – how they can be successful career women and still have a home life? It means making up some new rules to live by. Perhaps setting down some expectations in the marriage: Regular updates of how the two are managing and how to help each other achieve their aspirations. Marriage is a partnership that has no rules until we give them some – and each marriage should have its own rules, not those of your parents or friends. I think that whatever the two people involved work out between them is what is best for them. I hate it when some magazine or online study tries to tell me what’s “normal”. It’s always best to listen to your own voice.
EQUALITY FOR ALL
Another thing that jumped out at me about this movie was when Jules took her little girl to school one day, the other mothers made Jules feel uncomfortable about not having time to bake or participate in school activities. It’s like they were punishing her for being a successful career woman. I’ve heard of this before. Why do women crucify their counterparts for their accomplishments? Didn’t women already fight for the right to work and to be treated equally? We should support each other in our successes. As a mother myself, I encouraged my daughter to get an education so she would have choices. Why must we crucify our peers for having exactly what we want for our children and perhaps even ourselves? Once again, it was 70 year old Ben who stood up for Jules recognizing that her success reflects in a positive way on what’s possible for all women.
There’s a lot going on in this movie that we need to consider. Equality for women and seniors. Supporting the successes of your peers. Making your own rules about how to live your life.
In the end, Ben and Jules were both looking to live a meaningful, balanced life where they could make their own rules and not follow the dictates of a fickle public that doesn’t know a hill of beans about who they are and what they need to be happy. It seems to me, that’s what we all want in the end. What do you think?