Movie Review: The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Ever fancied working in the fashion industry? Well if you have, The Devil Wears Prada will definitely put you right off! Based on the hilarious best-selling novel of the same name, this movie is just what you need if you are in need of a laugh (or a cry) and it holds much more depth than would be expected of a film set in New York in this day and age that is based on such a “flighty” premise.
The Devil Wears Prada is a fast-paced and funny film that unleashes the brilliance of acting from the likes of Meryl Streep (recently in the whimsical musical Mamma Mia!) and the beautiful Anne Hathaway (recently in Get Smart), and delves deep into the world of high fashion, showing just how cut-throat it is and how cruel life can be if you are a new-comer to this selective world.
Naive Andy Sachs (Hathaway) learns this the hard way when she nonchalantly starts working at Runway magazine and its notorious and sophisticated editor Miranda Priestley (Streep). Miranda is quick-witted and ruthless, and simply does not accept anything less than perfect. But as we discover there is always another side to a person, as Miranda’s more sensitive interior is shown in her weakest moments. For one, she takes Andy under her wings in an attempt to shape her in her stead – poise and power over frumpiness and friends. But more tellingly, we get to see that Miranda isn’t perfect by a long shot. In the most striking scene for me in the film, we see her disheveled after a particularly nasty talk about her divorce. The difference in her appearance is amazing – she is suddenly exposed and vulnerable and it shows that many people do indeed hide who they are behind their make-up and their job title. Andy transforms too. She changes her character as she gets more used to working in the fast paced industry and turns into a work junkie (much to the dislike of her friends). She basically becomes everything that she and her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier) abhor.
Although Streep is well in her comfort zone as a mean and villainous woman and Hathaway portrays Andy perfectly by showing her character’s transformation from dull to glam with such style and believability, I feel the main stand out performance is from Emily Blunt who plays Miranda Priestly’s catty assistant Emily. She is every inch as vile and sneaky as she appears in the book. She is constantly putting down Andy when Andy first joins (Emily’s got the inside track) but she gradually changes her attitude as the power begins to shift from her to her co-worker. But by the end she goes through a permanent transformation as well, becoming a much nicer person when all is said and done.
The Devil Wears Prada is not really a feel-good kind of movie but it is highly entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s dark humour (mostly in the form of put-downs aimed at Andy) had me cringing. It reminded me a lot of the sense of humour carried with the likes of Gervais’ sitcom, Extras, with its jokes revolving around awkward situations. I would suggest you watch this one after a bad day of work – it’ll make you feel so much better about your own job. A must-see for all work-o-holics!