It is hard to pinpoint exactly when Robert De Niro made the transition from nefarious mobster to beloved father figure (I'm guessing it was sometime around Meet the Parents ), but the acclaimed actor is absolutely flourishing in the department of warming hearts better than a cozy mug of hot chocolate. Case in point: De Niro's latest role in Nancy Meyers' The Intern as retired widower, Ben Whittaker. In the film, Ben zestfully responds to an advertisement from successful e-commerce startup, About the Fit, as a way to infuse what has become an all too familiar routine with a new experience to better fill his schedule. After being accepted, Ben finds himself in the remodeled warehouse that serves as About the Fit's main office — a place modernized both by its gorgeous interior design and the throngs of millenial workers.
The conspicuous generational gap doesn't cause Ben to balk at this new opportunity — quite the contrary. Ben is unremittingly affable to each person that passes him by, and approaches each moment with gusto. The film quickly unfolds into a story about the collision of two generations leading to growth and learning (on both sides of the spectrum), rather than points of contention. Most notably, Ben's burgeoning friendship with About the Fit's tenacious founder, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), explores a tenderness and poignancy that is guaranteed to leave audiences swathed in more warmth than 12 of Meyers' ubiquitous throw pillows.
Meyers has been known for pairing heartwarming plot lines with immaculate backdrops — and Intern is no different. From the aesthetics of About the Fit's office, to the New York City brownstones, and the lush trees flanking each street, the film is a set designer's dream. Still, I feel that the most appealing fixture throughout the movie has to be De Niro's embodiment of Ben's unwavering warmth, sage advice, and adorableness. Yes, guys, Ben is the epitome of adorableness. I could barely deal with the levels of charm I became privy to while watching this film. It caused me to forego the decision to step out for a bathroom break the entire time, and I had consumed a lot of soda before the previews had even finished rolling.
It is official: De Niro as Ben in Intern may be the most adorable thing the world has ever seen. Do you doubt me? Let's take a look at the evidence.
1. Kittens Vs. Ben
Aww! Look at this kitten, all tuckered out from a long day of being a baby animal. That's pretty cute, right?
That kitten's cuteness has nothing on Ben taking Jules' daughter to a pink-themed birthday party.
2. Puppies Vs. Ben
Look at this puppy gnawing on its owner's finger. You're so tiny, puppy!
But wait! Ben just "joined Facebook about 10 minutes ago." If it weren't for the fact that he's a fictional character, I would be friend requesting him immediately.
3. Teacup Pigs Vs. Ben
I officially can never eat bacon again.
That teacup pig still can't compete with Ben introducing himself to Jules in the most effortlessly adorable way possible.
4. Ryan Gosling & A Dog Vs. Ben
Look at Ryan Gosling hanging out with this dog. My heart literally melted into a puddle of joyous feels.
Gosling and his canine friend can't quite match the cuteness level that is evident in Ben's cheeky response to the question: "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"
5. Bunnies Vs. Ben
This bunny just fell asleep on the job! Don't worry, bunny, you won't get fired — you're too darn cute!
An entire brigade of overworked bunnies cannot compare to Ben making Jules laugh giddily on a plane. He has the best stories!
Congrats, De Niro. Your turn as Ben in Intern has officially made you the winner winner chicken dinner of being totes adorbs.
Images: Francois Duhamel/Warner Bros. / Giphy (7)