Review of “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) PG-13 109min
February 23rd, 2008 by Maxim · 3 Comments · 5,614 Views
The plot: Andrea Sachs’s (Anne Hathaway) dream was to become a journalist. A naive young woman, she comes to New York and scores a temporary job for the Runway [fashion] magazine working as an assistant secretary to ruthless, if not sadistic, chief editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andrea puts up with her extravagant boss’s requests because she is told that if she can last a year she can land the journalist’s job she craves. At first she is doing quite poorly, and she is a target of nasty comments from her fashionistas co-workers. She thinks she is being targeted and unappreciated for her hard work unfairly. The first breakthrough comes when a hot young writer, Christian Tompson (Simon Baker), she met at the fashion show helps her get an unpublished manuscript of next Harry Potter book for Miranda’s twin daughters. The second when her co-worker gets hit by the car and Miranda chooses Andrea to go to Paris with her. Miranda is faced with a dilemma, however: by dedicating herself to her job she is risking to lose her family and estranging her friends; also Miranda presented her with a choice: to have no career or to have to step over other people. Boyfriend is not happy about her new job either. At the same time Andrea discovers that behind the toughness of the Snow Queen-like Miranda is just another woman with rather tragic life.
The good: Meryl Streep is always fantastic in the roles of snow queens or iron ladies, who, even in direst circumstances can pull themselves together and come up a winner in the situation in the world where only the strong can survive – dog eat dog, rat eat rat. Anne Hathaway was a doll. Couple of good theme songs. Nominated for 2 Oscars and other awards, including multiple nominations for best costume design and Best Actress nominations for Meryl Streep. It has some sweet moments, but they all are cliche and lack depth.
The bad: The whole movie is a cliche, beginning with the characters like Anrea’s boyfriend, the rest of her friends, her coworkers, her boss, her seducer, her family, and particularly that U2 song, “The City of Blinding Lights”. It is targeted to 13-year old girls and is designed to teach them that family is more important that glamour or a cool job and that cliche idea that “beauty is on the inside” (which is what ugly women say). The movie for the most part is shot in the style of a reality show like “Project Runway” on Bravo, with a lot of quick pans, sharp angles etc. This movie could just as well be a Disney cartoon. Oh, and I when in inside-the-car scenes the background is so obviously montaged – if you were in Paris why couldn’t you shoot the scene with real background? Why use early 20th century techniques?
The summary: a flick full of cliches for teenage and pre-teen girls which just as well could be a Disney cartoon.
Credits: Director – David Frankel | Writers – Lauren Weisberger (novel), Aline Brosh McKenna (screenplay) | Original Music – Theodor Shapiro | Cinematography – Florian Ballhous | Art Direction – Tom Warren | Costume Design – Patricia Field | Fox 2000 Pictures
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