Monday, 28 September 2020
The Devil Wears Prada
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 20:16

The Devil Wears Prada, and Galliano,
and Kenneth Cole, and Jimmy Choos, and…

I want you to picture a big fancy cake, loaded up with fluffy frosting and beautifully decorated. Looks delicious, doesn’t it? The problem with cakes like this is that they rarely taste as good as they look, unless they are made with the best ingredients and a little love. The Devil Wears Prada is every bit as enticing as that cake, and its ingredients combine to make a rich and delightful confection! It’s just too bad the fashion industry can’t afford the calories!

The film follows Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a Northwestern University journalism grad, as she looks for her big break to becoming a serious writer. Her heart is set on The Newyorker, but her bank account says anything will do for now. So she stumbles into the offices of an elite fashion magazine called Runway for an interview with big-shot editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). For Andy stepping into the offices at Runway is like stepping into The Twilight Zone. Wraiths answer phones and float to the fax machine in overdone makeup and six-inch stilettos. She can’t possibly fit in to a world where the outfit you wear to work in the morning is out of style by the afternoon.

But Andy is confident and even a little full of herself for her accomplishments at University. She weathers the icy stares and rude comments and actually gets the job “a million girls would kill for” as Miranda’s second assistant. She is now called “the new Emily” since Miranda can’t be bothered learning another assistant’s name.

Demanding isn’t a strong enough word to describe her new boss as Andy dutifully runs from one end of town to the other fetching coffee, lunch, and garment bags. Her cellphone rings at all hours and her personal life becomes non-existent as she caters to Miranda’s every whim. Along the way she transforms herself into runway material to prove that she is taking this job seriously and not giving up.

As I mentioned before, this movie is a fluffy confection with quality ingredients that combine to make it a worthwhile indulgence. Sex and the City director David Frankel has obvious talent for haute couture entertainment. The screenplay was quick and witty enough not to allow boredom. I especially loved the fantastic Stanley Tucci who steals scenes as the sexually ambiguous Nigel. He has some of the best lines in the movie and delivers them with zest!

With all of the publicity this movie is getting, most of the attention is going to Meryl Streep and she deserves it. She plays Miranda as the cold-hearted bitchy boss, but her eyes tell a different story. Through Streep we can see past the glacial exterior to a woman who knows what she does well and will let no one stop her, even when her life falls apart. She is restrained and her heavy lids give an impression of boredom with everyone around her. As horrible as she is you end up rooting for her. A perfect performance.

Andy isn’t the most interesting character, and I didn’t really like how easily she allowed herself to be changed. She even takes her already thin frame to a new level of emaciation, going from a size 6 to a 4. But the movie makes cracks about dieting and another character claims to be “one stomache-flu away” from her goal weight. I guess it would be easy to get caught up in such a glamorous world, and her redeeming quality is that she sees her mistakes and eventually learns from them.

I was afraid that The Devil Wears Prada would be a trendy film for wannabe fashionista’s. But it has much more to offer with its tongue-in-cheek, voyeuristic view of the New York elite. I give it 6 out of 10 stars. (But Meryl gets a solid 10!)