The Devil Wears Prada
Published Oct 6 2006, 20:53 BST | By Daniel Saney Director:
Aline Brosh McKenna Starring:
Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley TucciRunning time:
110 mins Certificate:
Andy Sachs (Hathaway) is a fresh-faced journalism graduate who, arriving in New York, lands a job at Runway
fashion magazine as assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Streep), a famous dragon of an employer. Although, as she is constantly told, this is a job that thousands of girls would kill for, she is not one of them.
At first, Andy has little interest in or respect for fashion as her plain clothes testify. However, she realises that the only way to get on in this job and open doors to others is to give in to assimilation. Soon after she adopts her colleagues' clothing style she also finds herself becoming more like her boss in other ways as she devotes too much of her time to her work and less to friends, family and her frustrated boyfriend (Adrian Grenier).
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Lauren Weisberger, which was inspired by her time working for Anna Wintour, the notorious Vogue
editor, who was given a rather harsh depiction in the book.
On its surface, The Devil Wears Prada
screams "chick flick", even more so thanks to the fashion world setting. Although this could be further from the truth in some aspects (Andy has the choice between a reliable, good-looking beau or a smarmy predatory writer), it is essentially a morality tale about priorities and sticking by one's own values - dilemmas which are universal enough across the sexes and are hardly exclusive to Andy.
When it does turn its attention specifically to the industry, Devil
is even-handed in its portrayal. Even though Andy (initially) and her friends see no difference between one purple belt and another, and any woman above a size 4 is viewed with disdain, the filmmakers make it clear that the people in such offices have profound power.
To state the obvious, Meryl Streep is a fantastic actress and her fabulous performance here is no exception to the rule. Through eschewing a loud and energetic portrayal of a boss from hell, her understated caustic comments and meaningful looks allow her to make the role her own and elevate the comic stakes to heights they surely couldn't have otherwise reached. Meanwhile, she also makes us sympathise with this unlikable creature.
Although it's easy to say that Streep steals every scene she's in, she does have some valiant competition. Anne Hathaway is endearing and effective as an everywoman who is forced to reassess herself as life changes creep up on her, and Emily Blunt provides constant laughs as Priestly's top assistant, clearly trying to model herself on her mentor in word and deed.
Fresh, thoughtful and absolutely hilarious, comedy dramas don't come much better than The Devil Wears Prada