girl power

The Intern: Break the Expectations

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Starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, this film far exceeded my expectations. It’s inspiring, uplifting, with the perfect amount of heartbreak and humour. It’s been three days since I saw the film, and I’m still reeling from the emotional rollercoaster I was put through.

De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a retired 70-year-old looking to spice up his monotonous life with something new. That spice just so happens to be a senior’s intern program for an up-and-coming online clothing business, headed by the awe-inspiring Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).

Since Ben is an actual senior (citizen), a lot of the typical intern questions don’t really work out, such as “where do you see yourself in ten years?”, and “what was your major?” followed by “do you remember?” Ben, however, handles himself at all times with pride, respect, patience and concern—just what the doctor ordered for Jules.

Jules, by the way, is a ground-breaking character. She’s a pillar of dedication, strength and determination, as well as kindness and concern for her employees and customers, truly going above and beyond. In the first nine months of creating her business, she met her five-year goal, and went from 25 to over 200 staff members. She also tends to ride a bicycle through her office—complete with a cup holder for coffee: a brilliant idea. And she hates it when people don’t blink. Or when they talk slow. Jules Ostin is truly a quirky inspiration, who isn’t afraid to smash glass ceilings. Go, Anne Hathaway! Girl power!

I hope i’m successful enough to ride a bike through my office some day.

That is, until the misogynistic and sexist investors want to replace Jules as CEO in favour for someone a little more “seasoned”. In order words, an older man. They convince her she’s doing too much, and as a woman, should let a man handle the business world. And at first, she believes them. But then Ben Whittaker saves the day with his old-world charm, and kind, caring demeanour. And he always encourages everyone to do the right thing—even if it’s hard. From Jules’s drunk chauffeur, to co-workers with lady problems, to cheating husbands: Ben can fix it all. His best tips? Breathe deeply. Take some me-time. Talk to people in person, and talk to them honestly, but most importantly: believe in yourself—because no one knows you as well as you.

Robert De Niro makes everything better.

The Intern also tackles some pretty complicated themes, from the invisibility of the elderly who still have music left inside them and a wealth of knowledge, to working mothers.

“It’s 2015, are we really still critical of working mums?” Ben asks. Indeed, we are. Jules, when not being a superstar businesswoman, is also a mum to her young daughter, Paige. Her husband, Matt, quit his job in marketing in order to be a stay-at-home dad. And on the surface, this works. Well, until Matt cheats repeatedly with a woman from Paige’s school. Matt eventually confesses, apologises profusely, saying he lost himself, but now he’s ready to be a real man—as if that was a valid excuse. Is this particular man so emasculated by his badass, bread-winning wife that he has to sleep around in order to validate his manhood? Please. Talk about toxic masculinity. And the worst part about all this: she takes him back. SHE TAKES HIM BACK. It’s not like it was a one-time thing—he was cheating on her for months, knowing it was wrong, and still did it anyway. But oh, throw a few compliments and lovey-dovey words in there, and everything is fine and dandy. Matt, you’re a jerk face.

Did I mention Ben is a criminal? Yeah, they save Jules’s ass by breaking into her mother’s house and deleting a rather inflammatory email. And oh, hey there Bumper from Pitch Perfect!

But even in the face of heart ache, even in the face of intense adversity, Jules does not give up. And that’s definitely something to commend. Ben is the perfect Robin to Jules’s Batman, and while I was still pissed off about that jerk-off Matthew, it was hard to not be inspired by the pair. You go guys, don’t be defined by societal opinions of age and gender. Smash those expectations. I believe in you.

Overall, it was a great movie—it left me wanting more. So I guess the writers did their job. The movie has also earned $107.8 million at the Box Office, so they must be doing something right. It’s witty, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking and it’s inspiring—and you won’t regret watching it.

Note: this article was originally published by me for Re-Views Magazine.

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Would you like a side of badass with that? A Richelle Mead review

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“I’d seen weirder things than a haunted shoe, but not many.

…There was a moment’s silence, then a high-pitched male voice snapped, “Go away, bitch.”

Great. A shoe with an attitude.”

Richelle Mead’s Storm Born is the first instalment in her riveting Dark Swan series, and is a work of pure genius and absurd humour. After all, who doesn’t love a touch of wackiness?

Storm Born follows shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham who dedicates her life to protecting innocents from vicious creatures of a parallel universe—the Otherworld. Death threats and violence, she can handle—Eugenie wields a gun and shamanic magic with ease. In other words: a total badass. That is, until every Otherworldly creature is trying to get into her pants—the downside to an age-old prophecy. Eugenie is forced to confront her enemies, as well as the dark, unknown powers swirling within her.

Mystery, intrigue, betrayal, action and love. Storm Born has it all; complete with haunted shoes, a half-kitsune who gives a new meaning to the phrase “animal attraction”, and a fairy king with a taste for bondage.

Urban fantasy author Richelle Mead is well-renowned for her strong (and incidentally hilarious) female leads. Mead perfectly mixes her wacky brand of dark humour into smoulderingly sexy—not to mention empowering and inspiring—lead ladies and compelling storylines.

Mead’s most recent venture is the mind-blowing Age of X series, which is set in the futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists who unleashed a deadly virus. The Republic of United North America (RUNA) as a result banishes Gods from their society—but these Gods return with a vengeance, and it’s up to implant-enhanced super solider Mae Konskein and her genius (and alcoholic) partner Dr Justin March to maintain order with the utmost secrecy. On the other hand, Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series follows a reluctant succubus with a terrible love life but great shoes through a series of unexpected, dangerous and often heart-breaking events, though Georgina overcomes these through her sassy humour and intelligence.

Perhaps her most well-known venture, Mead’s best-selling young adult series Vampire Academy (which in 2014 was also adapted into a film) follows the snarky half-vampire guardian-in-training Rose Hathaway who is charged with the protecting the last Dragomir moroi (living vampire) princess Lissa Dragomir—who also happens to be her best friend—from a race of ancient, undead and bloodthirsty vampires—the strigoi. Meanwhile, in Vampire Academy’s spin-off series Bloodlines, witty, resourceful and pragmatic Sydney Sage is the protagonist. Sydney is an alchemist; a super-secret human agency which is tasked with concealing the existence of vampires. That is, until she falls in love with one.

Whether it be through brains, brawn or empathy, Mead’s characters prove ladies can kick butt—especially in a male-dominated, patriarchal world.

So, have you ever heard of a succubus who occasionally moonlights as a Christmas elf? An angel who drinks with demons and dresses like a homeless man? An overly-aggressive table? No? Read Richelle Mead’s masterpieces. You will be enlightened—thank me later.

I give Richelle Mead 5 stars—for all of her books; because anything less would be an insult. Go forth, enlightened readers!