“The Intern” is a charming little movie that explores the differences of old and new in today’s workplace. Robert De Niro plays a 70-year-old widower who finds retirement boring, sees a flier for a “senior” internship position on a bodega bulletin board, and submits a YouTube video with the assistance of his grandchild. Anne Hathaway plays a woman who started her own online fashion store that is a runaway success, has an adorable young daughter, and a restless stay-at-home husband who is cheating on her. The last part pissed me off. The successful woman and unfaithful husband has become a Hollywood motif.
Two 2007 movies come to mind: “Freedom Writers” and “Juno”.
Hillary Swank in “Freedom Writer” plays a new teacher in the Los Angeles school district who takes on the task of teaching English to a group of minority students that the experienced teachers have given up trying to teach and who segregate from each other by their own racial and gang affiliations. As she reached out to these students by making them understand the consequences of the Holocaust and reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” relates to their own life, her husband feels neglected by her success and divorces her when she refused to give up on her students.
Ellen Page in “Juno” plays a high school girl who has sex with her longtime friend and finds herself pregnant. She defies expectations from classmates and adults by arranging for a childless couple to adopt her baby. The wife with her own successful career is ecstatic at becoming a mother. The husband who works from home writing jingles isn’t thrilled about being a father and announces his intentions to get a divorce, putting the adoption in doubt. Despite the difficult circumstances made by the unfaithful husband, the baby was born and the wife becomes a single mother.
Why does this particular Hollywood motif get me so pissed off?
As a college student in the campus ministry in the early 1990’s, I knew two couples who started dating. One couple expected to become bible talk leaders and the other couple were already bible talk leaders. When the leadership reorganization got announced for the fall semester, the women were bible talk leaders and the men were on the sidelines. Both men reacted to this with a considerable amount of pissing, moaning and groaning about God, the leadership and even their girlfriends for being at fault. I told them that they needed to support their girlfriends or watch their dating relationships implode in six months. As I was a still a new Christian at the time, they did not listen to me and learned nothing six months later when their girlfriends broke up with them.
I would love to see a movie where a husband not only respects his wife’s success but also plays a supporting role that makes them both successful and happy. The conflict in the story shouldn’t have to come from the husband having his head permanently stuck up his sorry ass. Not all men are pricks.