The film The Devil Wears Prada
, directed by David Frankel, is a riveting performance. It is packed full of high-quality energy, brilliant and brilliantly delivered lines, and acting that will leave you thinking about the film for days after you view it. It is about a woman named Andrea, or Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), who aspires to become a journalist in New York City.
Unfortunately, the only two journalist-like positions that are open are number two assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), fashion magazine editor and the most powerful magazine editor in the city, or working for an automobile magazine. Even though Andy doesn’t fit in at all with the fashion world – she’s not skinny, she wears a mishmash of clothes that can best be described as collegiate or school-girl casual, she has absolutely no knowledge of fashion trends or designers, and the only cosmetic she adorns her face with is chapstick – she decides she would prefer this position to the automobile position and decides to try for it.
At first glance she is dismissed as being “hopeless” because of her obvious lack of knowledge about fashion, but then Miranda takes a second look and decides that even though she has no fashion knowledge, she is a highly intelligent and dedicated worker; Miranda decides to give Andy a try. Voila! Andy finds herself thrust into the maddening vanity, arrogance, and rudeness, the maddening hours, and the maddening demands – the maddening world of fashion – that come with the territory of being Miranda’s second mate.
The energy in this film is unbelievable. From the first moment, you’re whisked through a doorway into the film and whisked through its corridors of breathless, riveting scenes. Part of what contributes to the film’s dynamic is the actors’ ability to portray their characters. Meryl Streep was amazing in this film. You have never seen anything as scary as the Miranda Priestly she flawlessly presented to the audience, unless you, too, have had a boss as similarly frightening as Miranda Priestly. Stanley Tucci, who played Nigel, the magazine’s photography editor, also needs to be lauded.
His acting was brilliant, particularly the moment when he was brutally devastated at a public dinner. It might even be worth noting that in an interview posted on about.com, he stated that he had absolutely no time to research the part because he was cast a few days before they started shooting. Even Emily Blunt who played Emily, Miranda’s first assistant, was superb. It is her line delivery as well as Meryl Streep’s that is most memorable. Some of the lines are priceless; you’ll be quoting them for days. And last, but not least, casting Anne Hathaway as Andy was a good touch. She may not have been one of the brightest-shining stars, but she played her part convincingly and the audience sympathizes with her character.
While the energy and acting in this film make it one of the summer’s greatest, it is unfortunately not for everyone to see because of the subject matter. The film portrays the fashion world as it really is, with all of its vanity, arrogance, and crash dieting that can easily be classified as eating disorders, and the film says nothing against these issues – it leaves them undiscussed. I would say, though, that the film doesn’t portray these issues in any serious light; of course it doesn’t, the film is a comedy.
It is not saying to the world that it is perfectly fine for people to act this way; it isn’t saying anything at all about the issues. Because it presents the issues in a comedic atmosphere, it presents the issues in a sort of tongue-and-cheek fashion. Even Meryl Streep stated in an interview found on www.cinecon.com that the film is not an instructional film.
But, viewers who are disgusted by vanity and feel vehemently about eating-disorder issues, may not see the tongue-and-cheek aspect, and feel unnecessarily negative towards the film. Furthermore, I must disagree with Meryl Streep in her belief that the topic of the film is not instructional.
Even Andy, in the film, claimed that she “learned a lot.” The film speaks of beauty and fashion as art, even as a higher art than Da Vinci’s work, because it is what you encounter every day – you wear it – and what affects you externally affects you internally as well. So, what was it Andy learned? She learned how to achieve her full potential and she learned that art – paying particular attention to one’s external appearance – help leads to the development of one’s full potential. In addition, while she learned about what she can become, she also learned about what she doesn’t want to be.
While this film’s dynamic and acting is unmatched by any film this summer, because it has a subject matter that not everyone will approve of or even understand, I can only give it four stars.