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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not a girl, so I knew next to nothing about Anne Hathaway, I went to see Meryl Streep and oh boy, did I see her. An inedited Meryl Streep, far, far away from anything she has ever done and that is saying something, isn't it? Blazing with self confidence, Miranda Pristley is a monumental modern queen. Hints of human trouble at her own personal castle doesn't disturb that imperious facade and her extraordinary talent to say "No" I may be totally out of touch but I just wanted Anne Hathaway out of the way. It bother me so much. I longed for the young Julie Christie in that role. The Christie of "Darling" can you imagine? Then yes you have a battle of the titans not a predictable, tired, phony fairy tale. When Hathaway's boyfriend tells her "You have become one of them" I wanted to shoot myself because that's obviously what was suppose to happen but other than different outfits and make up I saw no difference in the girl. I enjoyed very much Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt's performance and I'm recommending the film just to witness Meryl Streep, the greatest actress of our or any generation, dazzles us with an extraordinary new face.
For the past month or so, I have been eagerly awaiting this movie. I
love Meryl Streep, I like Anne Hathaway, I though the world of magazine
publishing could make a great setting for a movie, and I thought the
premise of the book 'The Devil Wears Prada' had a lot of movie
potential. So, now that I've seen it, I have to say it is one of the
funniest movies I've seen this year. The screenwriter has maintained
everything that was funny about the book, as well as chucked a lot of
the duller subplots, and has formulated a movie that is a great deal
more enjoyable than the book.
I'm sure you're all familiar with the basic premise - naive small-town girl comes to the big city hoping to be a journalist, and gets a job as assistant to Miranda Priestly, the much-feared editor of 'Runway' magazine (a thinly veiled take on 'Vogue' magazine, and its editor). Thankfully, the cast was almost perfect (though I did think Simon Baker was somewhat miscast at the rakish writer who takes a liking to the protagonist, Andrea), and elevated the movie to a level it would not have otherwise reached.
Meryl Streep is absolutely amazing as Miranda Priestly, and I especially liked the way that, as Miranda, she never raised her voice above normal speaking level. Streep has said she based this mannerism on Clint Eastwood, who as Dirty Harry talks very quietly but still intimidates. This made Miranda much more interesting than the stereotypical, screaming gorgon she could have become. She is certainly the best thing about this movie, and I think the odds are good that she'll score a best-actress nod at the next Oscars. Miranda is also made more complex (and slightly more sympathetic) than in the book, which I thought was very good. In the book, which I recently read, the author (who actually worked as an assistant to 'Vogue' editor Anna Wintour) was very bitter and whiny about the difficulties of her former job, and she made Miranda out to be a totally two-dimensional villain with absolutely no redeeming qualities. However, the movie shows us (briefly) a different side of Miranda - we see the compromises she has had to make to get to the top, and we see the toll this has taken on her personal life. We aren't made to agree with her diva-like behaviour, but we can understand how hard her life must be.
I also thought that Anne Hathaway was very appealing in her role - she made Andrea more likable and less snobbish than she was in the book (although the screenwriter deserves credit for that, as well), and she looked great in the couture she wore through most of the movie.
The supporting players were also very good, especially Emily Blunt (as Andrea's caustic fellow assistant, Emily) and Stanley Tucci (as Miranda's loyal but beleaguered right-hand man, Nigel). On many occasions, they stole scenes from the ostensibly 'central' character of Andrea.
The movie, while maintaining the book's premise, does not follow the book too closely, which I liked. The entire 'Lily' subplot from the book is eliminated (readers of the book will know what I mean), and Andrea's parents and boyfriend are less significant in the movie than in the book. I agreed with these changes, though - I found those aspects of the book to be quite boring, and their omission made for a more streamlined movie.
I strongly recommend this movie to virtually anyone, and I just hope "The Nanny Diaries" (another somewhat-similar 'chick lit' movie adaptation, coming out soon with Scarlett Johannson, that I am eagerly awaiting) lives up to the shining example of this excellent movie.
Unmissable for Meryl Streep fans. She plays second fiddle to Anne Hathaway here - screen time wise, otherwise she's the whole bloody orchestra. She's the one reason to see the film and that in itself is one hell of a reason. Meryl Streep is fearless and part of the joy of going to see her films is that we know for a fact that she's going to dare and dare and dare. From Sophie's Choice and A Cry in The Dark to Death Becomes Her and Plenty. Here the story is as unbearable as most TV commercials but she, Meryl/Miranda transforms it into something else. We connect with her evil queen because her evil queen is much more real, much more human than anybody else on the screen. Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci are fun but they're in the periphery of a story that's so wafer thing they can't really move to the center. Anne Hathaway is kind of invisible and her character only changes costumes and make up. There is no real tangible growth. Now that I got that out of my system. Go see Meryl be Miranda. You'll have a lot of fun.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Devil Wears Prada struck me much like the industry that provides
its backdrop pure surface, well promoted and unabashedly convinced of
its own importance. If this was in fact the point of the piece, it is
an absolute success. Otherwise, this highly-publicized film is
painfully predictable and merely another incarnation of a plug-in
script whose story arc has been traversed over and over . . . and over.
Let's see, it goes something like this; basically decent, idealistic, young (man/woman) goes to (New York/Chicago/Los Angeles/D.C.) to make his/her mark in (writing/business/music/acting/government) only to be temporarily seduced by the very environment/person they are the antithesis of, alienating his/her(boyfriend/girlfriend/family/friends/all of the above) in the process until he/she stumbles on to the revelation, "To thine own self be true." Devil is all of this. . . again. Only the trendy names being dropped have been updated for those who find that sort of thing significant enough to make them believe this is somehow a different story.
The characters, as written, are equally as plugged-in and predictable. The film is only watchable because of the efforts of three actors. Streep is superb -- as always -- as Miranda Priestly, the self-absorbed, career-obsessed and patently unpleasant publishing mogul. Every incredulous look and pursed lip is right on the mark. She is not however, showing us anything we haven't been shown before either about her acting or about women at the top. Even Miranda's obligatory "vulnerability scene" is thin and comes too late in the film to matter. By the time we witness what angst she is capable of, we really don't care. We are left with less a feeling of empathy than a sense of justice. (If you want to see her be truly chilling and ruthless, check out the remake of Mancherian Candidate.)
Likewise, Emily Blunt, as Miranda's first assistant, does a wonderful job as an insecure, over compensating slave to someone else's expectation. Her portrayal is cattily on target and provides the requisite foil to our heroine's wide-eyed innocence. Performance-wise this is commendable, but it leaves the audience with next to nothing to like about her character. The dilemma here is that the film presents her (as well as the character of Miranda) in such a way that we have this nagging feeling maybe we are supposed to like her in some way and yet, we don't. This creates even more of a dilemma later on when Andrea our supposedly intelligent, perceptive and grounded protagonist, played forgettably by Anne Hathaway-- makes attempts to befriend these two soulless women. Many are left to perceive her gestures as a weak and irritating need to be liked rather than any real nobility of character.
The one true bright spot of the film is Stanley Tucci, as Nigel, who once again seems to infuse a refreshing dimension and humanity to a character that was probably not written that way. He continues to amaze.
Cinematically, The Devil was a small-screen script seemingly shot for the small screen. It no doubt will look stunning when it reaches HBO to be embraced by all those starving fans of Sex in the City and many others who believe that haute couture must surely be the apex of man's cultural accomplishments and that watching insensitive, catty women snipe at each other is actually entertaining.
Billed as a "comedy/drama," the film was never very touching and only mildly amusing. There were no new insights or honest laughs -- the kind you share with friends about the mutually-experienced absurdities of life. No. The audience responses were more like those sophisticated, obligatory snickers that you exchange over lattes with people you don't really know that well -- and are reasonably certain you wouldn't want to spend time with again.
I had been told that Merryl Streep is great in this movie but the movie
isn't really very good, so I went in with very low expectations. Maybe
that was good: I really liked "The Devil Wears Prada" a lot.
Maybe I liked it because of two things I had in common with Andy: first, I have had the experience of starting a new job with only the vaguest idea of what I was supposed to do (and how to do it) and finding that everyone expected me to perform competently, without any training or help, right away. Second, I have had a boss (female) who was so difficult to please and so willing to tell her underlings how stupid they were that several quit without even waiting until they could find other jobs. In other words, I could really relate to Andy's situation. Stuff like that actually does happen in the real world. Perhaps, that is the reason that I was possibly the only person in the theater who was hoping Andy would not make the choice she made.
One thing that Miranda Priestley (Merryl Streep) had going that my Boss From Hell did not was class. It would have been very easy to create Miranda as a monster, but, wisely and skillfully, Merryl Streep allowed her to have a dignity and intelligence that made her seem to be demanding but not sadistic.
Stanley Tucci is superb as Nigel, the ambitious, hard working man who dreams of having a position of power like Miranda's some day.
"The Devil Wears Prada" is a very funny movie that is not as far divorced from the real world as, I believe, the producers of this movie may have thought.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was horribly offended by this film. Andy's friends act like she's
selling her soul to work at Runway, as if it's not just an occupational
hazard to submit to cruel bosses here and there. The whole premise of
her accepting the job in the first place is that she can then move on
to enviable roles in other magazines. What the hell is wrong with
that?!!! How is spending a year working your ass off some kind of
spiritual sin? It doesn't make any sense.
And she gets accused of doing to Emily what Priestly does to Tucci's character, but that's so clearly not the case. Why should Andy or anyone else sacrifice their promotion for co-workers that never made any effort to be nice to them in the first place? Ideally promotions are awarded meritocratically and why shouldn't we believe that Andy is just as qualified and deserving of her new responsibilities as Emily? Because she wasn't there as long? That's retarded people! The real world doesn't operate this way. When was the last time you gave up a promotion for some co-worker who was an asshole to you and didn't necessarily do her job as well? The basic message of this movie is that you shouldn't be ambitious, because if you are you will be punished by your friends and family--is this women really need to hear more of this bullshit? You're suppose to presume that had Andy completed her year there she would have set herself permanently on the path to crazed careerism which led to Miranda's second divorce. Oh, everyone at Runway is so unhappy. It's not worth it to be at the top of your field in fashion. I mean, it's absurd.
Oh, and sous chef boyfriend at one point declares how they should stop pretending that he and Andy have anything in common anymore. Oh my God. You obviously had precious little in common in the first place if girlfriend + an unusually stressful year of work is enough to eviscerate all that you used to have in common. In the real world, partners go through periods when they become absorbed by intense spells and relationships survive, because in good relationships partners support the long-term goals of their sig others. How do you think doctors complete their residencies with their relationships in tact? The gratuitous fashion montages were fantastic, but Anne Hathaway is a less than formidable talent that works best when she's posing all Brunette Barbie style. I actually walked out after Andy threw her cell phone in the fountain. I figured there wouldn't be anymore eye candy post-Runway and I'd have to sit through some predictable reconciliation scene where she's apologizing to her boyfriend for having had the misguided notion that the people who loved her might enjoy watching her succeed.
And it's just a stale, middle-of-the-road mainstream feature in a multitude of other dimensions. Save for Meryl Streep's white hot performance this movie sucks. View this movie only to witness a blatant example of how society wants to sabotage women's economic success.
Without Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada would get maybe a 5 rating, but because of Ms. Streep giving a performance that will undoubtedly get her a 14th Oscar nomination it is reason alone to see it. Is it even possible for her to do something that is even remotely similar to anyone of her past characters? The answer is NO! Her Miranda Priestley is once again a completely new role that seems made for her and she is so deliciously devilish that you want her in every scene, but we'll settle for a supporting actress nomination come February in a movie that would have essentially been Pricess Diaries 3 without her. A very enjoyable summer fluff movie that is a great escape thanks, once again to the brilliant Meryl Streep.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie generated so much buzz when it came out that I initially
resisted seeing it. Now that I finally did, I can't help but wonder
what all the hype was about.
Starring Meryl Streep opposite Anne Hathaway, "The Devil Wears Prada" is loosely based on the book by the same name, and was billed as a funny-but-edgy insider's look into the cutthroat world of fashion. Instead, it is a fairly pedestrian teen movie, built along the lines of "She's All That" or its million predecessors, where the plain Jane girl gets a makeover and all her dreams come true. Or something.
Because the message itself gets a little lost here. Ostensibly, this movie is supposed to tell us that the world of fashion is evil, superficial, full of back-stabbers and snotty "clackers", and utterly devoid of any true meaning or purpose. But simultaneously, it tries to elevate fashion to a worthy pursuit on the same level as, say, curing AIDS or fighting world poverty. In trying to at once pay homage to and dissect the fashion world, the movie succeeds at neither.
Much has been said about the acting, namely, Meryl Streep's portrayal of her character. And while I agree that her deliberately understated performance elevated this movie to something beyond "disaster", I'd hardly give her lavish praise. Simply put, she's not nearly "devilish" enough. She's tough and, at first, snarky, but we never truly believe that she's evil. Driven, yes. Willing to step over people to get what she wants, sure. But evil?
In fact, nobody is quite mean enough here. Emily Blunt's character is snooty but ultimately likable, and Stanley Tucci plays the kind of "gal pal" every girl wishes she had. For a supposedly cutthroat world, people are falling all over themselves to help each other out. So much for the Devil.
And Anne Hathaway is charming and all, but she is just horribly miscast as the ugly duckling. She's a gorgeous girl who looks like a fashion model wearing the designer clothing she struts around in most of the movie, but she looked stunning even before that "makeover" and the suggested message was that the world of fashion has ridiculous, unrealistic standards.
That said, the movie never really passes enough judgment on these standards. When her success at work leads her to drive away those closest to her, the movie portrays her in a sympathetic light, and her boyfriend and her friends are portrayed as simply jealous, as opposed to as real people who love her for who she is and not for what she wears. When Hathaway's character proudly boasts that she's dropped from a size 6 to a size 4, it's done in such a way to make viewers believe that this is actually a good thing! Far from inspiring people to do the right thing, I fear all this movie will inspire is an epidemic of anorexia among young girls.
In the world of The Devil Wears Prada, there are no consequences, no shame, and no sore feet from running around town all day wearing ridiculous shoes. The plot is utterly ridiculous, including such impossible situations as Hathaway's character obtaining the (not yet written) manuscript to the seventh Harry Potter book. Can we at least stick to something with some semblance of reality here, people?
Salma Hayek's adaptation of "Betty La Fea" as "Ugly Betty", starring America Ferrera, takes the same concept and does it quite a bit better, to tell the truth. I'd give this a skip and try watching the TV series instead; whatever its faults, at least it has a bit more heart than this mess.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Even though she portrayed variations of the same demonic character in
1989's "She-Devil" and 1992's "Death Becomes Her", Meryl Streep truly
nails it in this smart, creative 2006 comedy by underplaying the role
and saving her verbal talons for pivotal moments. As Miranda Priestly,
the despotic editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, Streep simply singes
the screen every time she appears with her perfectly upswept hair;
arrogant couture opinions and frequently unreasonable demands on her
Fortunately, director David Frankel has come along well since his 1995 Woody Allen knockoff, the irritatingly unctuous "Miami Rhapsody", and one can see his progression in his smart work on episodes of "Sex in the City" and "Entourage". He moves the film at such a sharp, fast clip that it feels like an accurately frenzied portrayal of the inner workings of the world of haute couture. The one-line zingers also come fast and furious thanks to Aline Brosh McKenna's deep-dish script based on Lauren Weisberger's best-selling novel, but the vitriol does not come at the expense of character development and a shrewdly observed storyline about all-or-nothing careers when working for media royals and courtiers.
The plot's protagonist is not Priestly but Andy Sachs, a young idealist and aspiring journalist who just graduated from Northwestern. Even though she has no interest in fashion, she lands an interview at Runway. Because she is not a typically bootlicking, anorexic fashionista toady, Priestly hires her as her second assistant. It becomes a nightmarish trial by fire, as Andy slowly earns the trust of Priestly much to the chagrin of the haughty first assistant Emily. And despite the derision of her circle of friends, including her live-in boyfriend, Sachs starts to respect Priestly's style and power, which leads to the decision to have Andy go to Paris for Fashion Week. Further complications ensue when a hotshot writer takes an interest in her and a power struggle erupts at Runway.
It really takes someone of Streep's caliber to pull off the impossible character of Priestly because when she does have a moment of vulnerability, it resonates so much more than it should. Although she is far too pretty to be considered frumpy by anyone's standards, the naturally likable Anne Hathaway plays Sachs serviceably and looks sensational in a series of Chanel outfits. She brings the necessary heart to the story, even though the character arc is rather predictable. It does seem a shame that we are supposed to cheer the character's reduction from size 6 to 4, but that is probably as accurate as anything else in the film.
There is terrific work from the reliable Stanley Tucci as Nigel, Runway's no-nonsense fashion director, especially as he patiently works under Priestly's shadow and gives Sachs hard-to-take survival advice, and from Emily Blunt, who plays first assistant Emily with the ideal combination of vitriol and desperation. Overly metrosexualized with the strangest blond eyebrows I have ever seen, Simon Baker lends an appropriately smarmy edge to his writer Christian Thompson. Far less interesting are Sachs' judgmental friends, in particular Adrian Granier as Sachs' sous-chef boyfriend and Tracie Thoms as art gallery owner Lilly. The ending is inevitable, but it moves in a creative way that makes neither Sachs overly heroic nor Priestly absolutely villainous. This is solid entertainment elevated by the artistry of Streep.
No! Miranda Pristley can say it or merely breath it and the refusal comes as a devastating blow to her eager bunch of minions . Those moments were my favorites in a film that promises a hearty meal but delivers a frustrating bland soufflé. Meryl Streep however, makes it palatable and some times right down delicious. Anne Hathaway , so good in "Brokeback Mountain", is so uninteresting here that she manages to survive only when she's sharing the frame with Meryl Streep and that's because we're not looking at her. How can the fairy tale be so uneven, how can we possibly root for the evil stepmother rather than Cinderella. That seems a miscalculation of enormous proportions. All in all I could actually seat through the whole thing again just to see Meryl/Miranda purse her lips.
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