The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
The Fashionista Lions
Details of your incompetence do not interest me - Miranda
Based upon the novel by Lauren Weisberger "The Devil Wears Prada" comes across as a movie of two parts a wickedly funny satire about the world of fashion and in particular a fashion magazine and then it also has a sort of moralistic side about doing what is truly important in life. Whilst the moralistic side is a little heavy handed and obvious, signalling the ending long before it ever gets there, the whole fashion satire is brilliant, humorous and cutting with the way it draws on real life and embellishes it.
In New York, newly graduated and naive Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway - Brokeback Mountain) finds herself a job as second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep - Dancing at Lughnasa), the bitchy and merciless chief executive of "Runway" the number one fashion magazine. Wanting a career as a journalist, Andrea looks at this job as a temporary opportunity to challenge herself. Under the ever watchful eye of bitchy No. 1 assistant Emily (Emily Blunt) and fashion director Nigel (Stanley Tucci - Shall We Dance), Andrea slowly finds her feet in the hectic world of fashion. But the deeper involved she becomes the more her attitude changes affecting her friendship and relationship with her boyfriend.
Where "The Devil Wears Prada" works best is in the satire of the world of fashion and from the moment we enter the offices of "Runway" with all the beauty and fashion obsessed staff buzzing around like a swarm of vicious bees you know you are in for a caustic look at fashion. And it just gets better as we enter a world of bitchiness and cutting remarks as we first meet No. 1 brown nosing assistant Emily and then the queen bitch herself Miranda Priestly played to brilliant excess by Meryl Streep. What is remarkable is that whilst satirizing the world of fashion it stays true to life, just embellishing elements such as the bitchiness of things to be amusing. And thanks to some sharp tongued, clever dialogue the humour just keeps on evolving.
All of which has to be said is a good thing because when you get the interwoven moralistic side of "The Devil Wears Prada" it all becomes a little too obvious. When we first meet the unfashionable Andrea you know that here we have a woman of morals who just wants to prove herself and to be honest the storyline doesn't disappoint because it does exactly what you expect with her getting sucked into the glamorous and not so glamorous life of fashion before realising what is important. It's all a little heavy handed and at times feels forced with scenes so heavily crafted that the moralistic message ends up being cheesy.
The good thing is that "The Devil Wears Prada" moves along at a sparkling pace flitting between one humorous, caustic scene to the next. But at the same time it doesn't get confusing or messy just good fun with a wicked sense of humour and dialogue which cuts like a knife.
As for the performances Anne Hathaway is amusing and pleasant as the initially naive and slightly clumsy Andrea 'Andy' Sachs especially as she is thrown to the fashionista lions. She delivers that likeable factor and as her character grows in confidence and basically sells out to her beliefs she is sort of believable. But "The Devil Wears Prada" really is Meryl Streep's movie as Miranda Priestly an ice cold bitch who would give Cruella De Vil a run for her money when it comes to being nasty. Delivering a sense of being a real character yet unbelievably heartless Streep delivers in ever single scene be it when she is being overly demanding, selfish, heartless or ever so pretentious yet she also makes her kind of likeable.
Making up the main characters is an always reliable Stanley Tucci as "Runway" fashion director Nigel who restrains himself from going down the obvious route of making him overly camp, yet still making him strangely funny. And Emily Blunt is wonderful as junior bitch otherwise known as Emily assistant No. 1 to Miranda. From her initial picking on Andy through to her constant bitchiness it's another wicked character, based in reality but slightly embellished to be funny.
What this all boils down to is that for the most "The Devil Wears Prada" is a wickedly funny and intelligent satire on the fashion industry which will get you smiling and laughing. It is a little heavy handed in its delivery of a quasi moralistic message but all the bitchiness, fakery and general comedy makes up for this especially Meryl Streep who is just superb as the icy Miranda.
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