After watching The Intern this past week I found the “feminist” perspective to be unconvincing. Throughout the entirety of the film the most feminist character was played by Robert De Niro, despite the “strong” leading female character played by Anne Hathaway.
Despite her husband’s initial efforts to accept and embrace the stay-at-home dad lifestyle, Jules (Anna Hathaway), discovers that he has been having an affair with another mom from their daughter’s school. Rather than confront the situation or blame him, Jules questions herself and the effects that her professional success has had on her husband. Throughout the film, she tries to find a CEO to take over her company so that she will be able to devote more attention to her husband and mend what she feels that she has broken.
I had a problem with this movie because of the way that it shows the powerful, female boss in a negative light. No male CEO in any film would have been placed in the same situation, especially when Jules is seen as balancing her family life (dropping off her daughter at school, eating breakfast with the family every morning, etc). De Niro eventually has to explicitly tell Jules that she cannot make herself the villain just for being a successful woman, making him the only true feminist in the film; despite Jules’ claims to be one herself.