The Intern

Plot

Starting a new job can be a difficult challenge, especially if you're already retired. Looking to get back into the game, 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) seizes the opportunity to become a senior intern at an online fashion site. Ben soon becomes popular with his younger co-workers, including Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the boss and founder of the company. Whittaker's charm, wisdom and sense of humor help him develop a special bond and growing friendship with Jules.

The Intern Trailer

When did boys go from being MEN to BOYS?

Point Of View

Point of view looks at from which perspective a narrative is presented to the audience. Some narratives shift the point of view, while others only ever present what the protagonist experiences.

Another way of thinking about point of view is to look at who’s side the audience is on. When determining the point of view you need to examine how the audience understood this. What conventions were used to reveal the point of view. Like; Narration, Camera Techniques, Flashbacks, Images of the character etc.

The narrative can be read by several characters point of view. In most cases it is between two characters.

From the images below list the media code and conventions employed to reveal the point of view of the narrative to the audience.

The Structuring Of Time

Structuring of time as utilised in narratives is not how time passes in the traditional sense, but how time is structured in the media product. The order and duration of events and how they are reflected to the audience. For example, flashbacks and flash forward. Is a character pregnant and has a montage been used to indicate 9 months has past?

Some techniques include:
• Compression
• Ellipsis
• Montage
• Flashback / Forward
• Slow motion – Fast motion
• Repeats
• Parallel actions

Is the narrative set in a chronological order (LINEAR) or a non-linear structure. Why is this so? What effect has this created on the narrative for the audience.

QUESTIONS:

In the Intern how is structuring of time reflected to the audience and what conventions informed the audience of the time structure?

How was the ideology of GENDER reflected within the audience’s understanding of the narrative in this text?

Exam & SAC question and answer

Q4. (7 marks)
Analyse how the relationship between TWO media codes and /or conventions convey meaning in another narrative that you have studied this year.

In the text, The Intern (2015), Point of View and Character Development reveal the ideology of gender and the changing identity of how females and males are represented in the American society. Audiences of this text relate heavily to the characters Ben played by Robert Deniro and Anne Hathaway’s character Jules. The point of view of the narrative is presented from Anne’s character Jules. To the audience Jules is a successful business owner who’s husband is the stay at home dad, that takes care of their five year old daughter. By allowing Jules’s character to retain the point of view of the narrative, the audience link their understanding of women in the workplace with her.

The ideology of women being independent, educated and successful if one that American audiences can relate to in the year 2015. Men are increasingly being represented as the father figure who is caring, compassionate and less of the hero character. The audience can identify this through Jules point of view. Although she is the CEO of her business and the income provider for her family, the narrative reveals that her husband is cheating on her. Despite the audience feeling empathetic towards her character, the narrative propels them to understand that this affair is necessary for him to, “feel like a man”. Therefore the ideology of men needing to feel empowerment and strength is still necessary in the American society. “Women can still not have it all”. The successful career, a husband willing to stay home and raise the children. The point of view now shifts within the narrative to Robert’s charter Ben, an older, chivalrous, gentleman whom reveals the ideologies of the 50’s to the audience. His remark to Jules in the resolution of the narrative is a profound moment within the narrative and demonstrates how the ideology of masculinity has evolved. “You should be able to have a successful career and have your husband not cheat on you”.

Character development of the two leading protagonists establishes a strong connection to the ideology of masculinity and femininity in the film text. Over the course of the narrative, Anne Hathaway’s character rides the ‘arc’ to arrive at the destination of victory and happiness. Her character is introduced in the opening sequence as being successful and throughout the development we see her character go through set backs and failures, which is a common story arc sequence. The audience is presented with the, damsel in distress, requiring the assistance of a man to help her. In this case, the audience is presented with Robert’s character Ben supporting her to victory in the closure of the narrative. Proving that America still retains the dominant belief that women require advice in order to, “have it all”.

Exam & SAC question and answer

Q1. (10 marks)
Media narratives can convey ideology through the selection and application of media codes and conventions.

Analyse how media codes and conventions convey ideology in the media narratives that you have studied this year.

The relationship between media and society is a complex one. Most media products will allow audiences to interpret and understand the narrative through the use of different code and conventions aligned to the media form. Along side the conventions employed to interact with the audience are the ideologies that are implied or explicitly injected into the narrative. It would be professionally and financially irresponsible for film-makers, newspaper editors, photographers, writers and advertising executives to ignore or insult the core beliefs of the very market they are trying to influence.

Looking at gender as an ideology, we can see that overtime the representation of femininity and masculinity has evolved. Audiences are now being presented with different ideas of women on screen to reflect the changes in society. Women are now considered to be independent, educated and strong. In the same way that men are now represented as compassionate, father figured and less of the dominant character. In both film texts that we explored this year, it was evident that femininity and masculinity still has a long way to go if promoting equality and gender role switching is the dominant social belief in the American and Australian society.

The Intern (2015) represents both female and male leading characters and the narrative is based around the ideology of gender. The text was produced for the American market, therefore conveyed the message of women as professional CEO’s in its plot. Conventions such as story and character arcs, acting and multiple storylines are employed by director, Nancy Meyers. The audience are often relayed the message that women are more than capable of running a successful business but cant seem to be both a mum and full time employee. The audience are also presented with the idea, that in order for men to be the stay at home dad they need more empowerment, hence placing the co-current multiple storyline of the affair in the narrative. Proving that the American audience is still not 100% ok with the idea of the stay-at-home father, having them feel some compassion for his character.

Anne Hathaway uses her stylistic acting to encourage the audience to relate to her demanding work ethic. Her character Jules is often seen walking with purpose and attitude and seen ignoring those beneath her. Her tone of voice is high pitched and direct, indicating that she is confident with her professional abilities. However, when her character is represented as the mother, her confidence decreased. The audience notice her tone of voice to be shaky with her sentence structure out of place. Her body language is clumsy and we often see her tired and defeated whenever she is around her daughter. This would indicate to the audience that she is not able to do both things well, be a mum and be the CEO. This aligns with the American attitudes about mothers in the workforce only making up 23% of the population.

Anne’s character goes through a transformation throughout the narrative and the story arc of, success meets failure meets victory is presented to the audience. It is here we see the explicit ideology of gender in play. Director Meyers, understands her audience and allows them to experience the narrative as they would feel comfortable with. She brings the resolution of the narrative to a halt by keeping the married couple together, even after the affair storyline is revealed. This ensuring that the romantic genre stays in tact and the audience feel satisfied with the plots final outcome. Providing the audience with the conclusion that in 2015 women can be both successful in their career and family life.

Revision questions –

1. Define how codes and conventions have been used in the construction of The Intern.
2. Define how a challenge to ideology was made implicit within the character of Jules.
3. Now explain how this ideology was supported by other scenes within the text.
4. Explain how the producers of this text utilized the ideology of ‘gender’ to create an empowering narrative for women in the year 2015.

(Source: Text Media Reframed, Cambridge 2018)