Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Intern: a movie review

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

email

Robert De Niro as Ben Whittaker, a widower and retired executive from a phone directory company, who serves as intern to Jules Ostin, founder and CEO of About the Fit, a fast-growing e-commerce fashion company, played by Anne Hathaway in an office scene where the two discuss how to use Facebook in the new Warner Brothers movie The Intern (Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures)

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #c0c0c0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZU3Xban0Y6A?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Nancy Meyers’s latest film, The Intern, is an entertaining and relatively wholesome story that revolves around the relationship between Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) and Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro). Ben is a seventy-year-old widower who has found retirement without his late wife to be rather unfulfilling. So when he sees a flyer advertising a senior internship program at Jules’s online apparel store, About the Fit, he sends in a video résumé and is eventually hired.

Ben is assigned to work under Jules, who initially sees him as more of a burden than an asset. However, he slowly gains her appreciation and trust, becoming something of a confidant whose experience and calm demeanor help her to regain the confidence that has slowly eroded since starting her company eighteen months ago. From a humble beginning in her kitchen to a multiple-site business that employs 200 people, in many ways the company had grown too fast for its own good. Some of the venture capitalists who helped fund her company concluded that it would be helpful to hire a CEO to oversee the business’s operations. They asked Jules to meet with potential candidates, though the decision on whether or not to hire outside help will ultimately be left to her.

Jules is understandably conflicted about someone from outside the company coming in to essentially be her boss. While she fears losing control of the business she created, she also feels the need to find a better balance between her home and work life. Ultimately, much of the movie revolves around whether or not such a balance is attainable. Throughout that process, Ben serves as a source of stability and guidance. He helps her realize her potential without ever treating her like a child and empowers her to become the best version of herself.

In many ways, Ben reminds me of Barnabas. One of my favorite stories in Acts is found in chapter 15 where, following the Jerusalem Council, Paul and Barnabas decide to go back and visit the churches they had started on their previous missionary journey. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them but Paul thought that was a bad idea considering John Mark had left them to return home on their last trip (Acts 13:13). They ended up fighting over the issue to the point that they split up. Paul took Silas and went through Syria and Cilicia while Barnabas sailed for Cyprus with John Mark (Acts 15:36-41).

We don’t really hear much about Barnabas and John Mark after that point. Luke, who joined up with Paul and Silas on their trip, keeps the narrative focused on their journey and doesn’t really mention the others. However, in 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul writes from prison asking Timothy to bring John Mark when he comes to visit because “he is very useful to me for ministry.” Clearly, something happened in that time with Barnabas that helped John Mark achieve the potential that the “son of encouragement” saw in him.

By believing in him when no one else did, Barnabas helped to redeem John Mark’s earlier weakness, enabling him become a minister who could be used by God to accomplish great things for the kingdom. In addition to becoming a help to Paul, John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark, thought by most scholars to be the earliest narrative of Jesus’s life and ministry. All of Christianity has been blessed because Barnabas had the consistency and dedication to help a young man others had lost faith in overcome his shortcomings to grow into the person God created him to be.

Can you think of someone in your life that could use that kind of help? Perhaps it’s you that needs a Barnabas. Whichever the case may be, it is always too soon to give up on God’s ability to redeem a person for his glory. So whether it’s you or someone you know that needs a little of that Barnabas-like encouragement and consistency, never doubt the Lord’s ability to work through his people to help his people achieve their kingdom potential. Who do you know that needs to hear that message today?