on March 19, 2010
Well, I'm all over the map about this movie, I really am, finding something to agree with in almost every review here, including the least positive.
The positives are these: I adore the look and pace of the film, the to-die-for clothes of course, and the performances (first and foremost) of the great Meryl Streep as the towering, terrifying Miranda, the winning Anne Hathaway as the perpetually harassed Andrea, the dependable Stanley Tucci as Miranda's long-suffering, witty-wise second-in-command Nigel, and the wonderful Emily Blunt as the bitchy, put-upon first assistant...uh, Emily. All of them--especially Streep, Tucci and Blunt--bring both bite and (mostly hidden) heart to what could have been a collective phone-in of annoying caricatures. And though we really only get glimpses of him here and there, I also enjoyed Rich Sommers's endearing turn as Doug, the sweetest of Andy's circle.
I am seriously ambivalent however, about what the message of this movie is supposed to be, especially to women, and the alarm bells really go off when--SPOILER ALERT--Andy reconciles with her boyfriend, Nate, telling him he was "right about everything."
What? What exactly was he so "right" about??
I don't know about you, but I found Nate, the boyfriend character, absolutely insufferable through almost the whole of the movie. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the voice of reason that tries hard to keep Andy grounded and remind her what's truly important. Instead he came off as a sulky brat who could not accept his girlfriend's growing pains as she struggled to cope with an impossibly demanding, first ever grown-up job that nothing in her easy-going schoolgirl existence had prepared her for. Were there no demands being placed on Nate in HIS choice of career? Was his job supposed to be the more important one?
Ditto Andy's best friend, Lily, who seemed to me increasingly more jealous of Andy rather than supportive of her. Lily too was pursuing Bright Lights-Big City dreams that demanded a lot from a young newcomer, after all, so how is it that she had such a hard time with Andrea's chaotic ups and downs? Where did Lily get off being so judgmental and disapproving? This is friendship? I watch these performances and can't decide whether actors Adrian Grenier and Tracie Thoms made poor choices in their playing of difficult characters or if the characters as written were simply impossible to like. Either way, both were a whiny pain in the rear, especially Nate, and Andy's mea culpas to him near the film's conclusion were tough to take.
No one disputes that Miranda Priestley was a Boss From Hell who routinely wiped her feet on her young assistants, particularly Andrea. But we also see that ultimately Miranda was as human as anyone else; a glamorous workhorse whose alley-fighter smarts hid real pain. And it should be said that Andy--who was in the beginning quite smug in her disdain of all the fashionista "shallowness" that surrounded her--had a knocking down or two coming. (I loved the way Nigel simultaneously comforted Andy and took her to task after an especially bad morning.) If Miranda put Andy through the wringer--and she did--well, she also taught her some important things (sometimes unwittingly) about hard work, hanging tough, and the choices we make in life to get to where we want to go or need to stay. Andy could have quit at the end of her first week (I think I would have) but no matter how bad or insanely silly things got, she didn't, at least not immediately. On some level she became aware that she was getting an education she wouldn't get anywhere else from anyone else, and there was value in that. I think she knew that; I hope she knew that. I hope the audience does, too.
on October 10, 2006
My wife and I, huge fans of `America's Next Top Model' and `Project Runway', were very excited about seeing this film. Why it took us this long still baffles me, but as of Friday night we had the pleasure of seeing `The Devil Wears Prada' and let me just say that it was quite the pleasure. Now, most if not all the praise has been heaped on the shoulders of Meryl Streep, and while she was outstanding, this film is more than just a Meryl painted canvas. There are four brilliant performances in this film and they all are deserving of praise.
First is Anne Hathaway who plays Andrea Sachs, a young aspiring journalist who takes a job working as Miranda Priestly assistant at `Runway Magazine'. Anne Hathaway proves with her performance that she's all grown up. No, that's not to take away from her more adult roles in more adult films like `Havoc' and the masterpiece `Brokeback Mountain', but here Anne proves that she can do adult comedy, not falling back into her teen goofiness that made her famous in `The Princess Diaries' but keeping everything smart and mature. She has enough poise and grace to match wits with Miranda, and she does so elegantly.
Next up is Emily Blunt who plays Emily, Miranda's first assistant (there are two, Andrea being the second). Emily has worked her butt off to get to where she is, slaving for the unruly Priestly and it's all about to pay off with a trip alongside Miranda to Paris. The only thing standing in her way is Andrea, for if Andrea fails miserably then it reflects poorly on Emily. Emily Blunt turns out I think the best performance of the bunch for she has enough sass, enough attitude and enough wit to make her pop out from the screen and stand out no matter who is sharing the screen with her.
Stanley Tucci also does wonderfully here as Nigel, Miranda's second in command. He is there to make sure everything is perfect, and also help Andrea adjust. Stanley always has done great backup work, playing second hand man to just about everyone, but here he really makes his performance his own and owns it. He delivers some of the funniest lines in the film but he never feels like the `token gay guy'...he's needed in this film, not filler, and he commands his scenes and really stands out amidst the crowd.
And then, of course, we have Meryl Streep who plays the ruthless tyrant known as Miranda Priestly. What I was most impressed about was the way Meryl underplays every word, every emotion, every scene, which is not what I expected. I really expected her to go all Glen Close and reincarnate Cruella but she didn't (thankfully) and instead turned out one of the most inspired performances of the year. She must have had fun playing the snooty self absorbed and above all selfish editor-in-chief of `Runway'. She lets us see inside her character briefly (when crying over another failed marriage) but her character is more about shutting off feeling in order to succeed and so we don't get to see the real Miranda because we're not supposed to.
Carried by these four brilliant performances `The Devil Wears Prada' is a fabulous film that will make you laugh and make you smile and will impress almost anyone. The script is brilliantly adapted from Lauren Weisberger's novel, and while it's not an exact replica (are any adaptations these days?) it carries the same wit but smoothes things out to make it more approachable and, in my eyes, more enjoyable. Bravo!
Meryl Streep is absolutely hilarious playing Miranda Priestly, the editor of the world famous fashion magazine "Runway". Along comes Andrea (Andi) Sachs for a job interview. She recently graduated from Northwestern University as a journalism major. Emily, the first assistant to Miranda, nearly snickers in Andrea's face as she looks her up and down and makes snobbish critical remarks about her unfashionable ordinairy clothes. Everyone in the office is calm, casual, and laid back until they learn Miranda Priestly is returning to the office when they go into "high alert".
The grand entrance by Miranda is superb, her haughty but elegant manner is perfect, with one breath and in one single sentence she rattles off six or seven commands to her assisant. Everyone jumps to attention and gets into action ... Andrea's interview is nearly cut short when Miranda notes she lacks the fashion background Miranda is looking for. However Miranda is won over by Andi's sincere work ethic and despite misgivings hires her. As second assistant, Andi manages to pull off miracle after miracle to make things happen for Miranda. It is when she does the impossible: obtains a publisher's copy of the latest Harry Potter book for Miranda's twin daughters that Andi's star at Runway begins to rise but at a huge cost to her personal life. Through a series of most auspicious but unexpected events, it is Andi who goes to the spring Paris fashion show with Miranda and a very select group of Runway staff. In Paris Andi comes to terms with her own values and resolves some personal struggles about her job and what she wants from life ...
The film is a parody about the serious competition which exists in the fashion and magazine publishing industries. The tensions, dramas, and back-stabbing are clearly evident. Dealing with the stresses and strains associated with trying to separate one's personal and professional life is very difficult. It becomes clear, the price of success means favoring work over family and friends . As Miranda Priestly said to Andi after returning from the spring Paris fashion show and as she stepped out from the limo amidst photographers and reporters: "They all want to be us" ... This film is most highly recommended - a sparkling gem of a film. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
on December 17, 2006
This could easily be dismissed as another "little-fish-in-a-big-pond" story, but the wonderful script and fine acting by all sets it high above the rest. Meryl Streep was terrific, though she was allowed to show a soft side a few times, which took away from the "bite" that may have been implied by the title. (I had a boss like that, but mine was meaner and showed less sensitivity). Streep is not the main character, however, and Anne Hathaway shows command in the central role. There's excellent support from Adrian Grenier, Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt. The shots of New York City (and of Paris) are grand and impressive, and, as one would expect, the costume designs are stunning, though few are original for this film. David Frankel's direction kept things moving at a swift pace, and the DVD extras are entertaining and informative. I enjoyed "The Devil Wears Prada" very much.
on July 4, 2006
I was much more entertained by the TDWP than I expected to be. The movie took the best parts of the book, humanized the characters, and made them more 3-dimensional than they were on paper. Meryl Streep demonstrates once again why she is one of the "grandes dames" of celluloid, in a pitch-perfect portrayal of Miranda Priestley. Although Streep consistently maintains Miranda's hard edge and bitingly-comedic sarcasm throughout the movie, she also gives us glimpses into the woman behind the mask without watering-down the character the audience loves to hate. I was really pleased to see that the end of the movie refused to insult the audience's intelligence by having Miranda see the "error of her ways" and undergo a complete (and unrealistic) character transformation. Rather, she maintains her devilish edge while being wise enough to recognize--and respect--the differences between herself and her 2nd assistant, Andrea ("Andy"). (Refreshingly, at the end of the movie, Miranda has still got the cojones to pull the rug out from under the ever-loyal Nigel to save her own empire).
Anne Hathaway does a really good job in TDWP, and holds her own in her scenes with Streep--no easy task, since pretty much everyone looks like an amateur next to Meryl. While Anne fittingly brings a bit of that wide-eyed innocence to the role of Andy (which made her a pre-teen sensation in the "Princess Diaries" and the like), it does not completely define her character. It was great to see Hathaway push the envelope a bit, and to show the tension between that innocence and the cutthroat, sink-or-swim world of high-fashion publishing.
The rest of the cast also does an admirable job. Stanley Tucci is a gem as Miranda's long-suffering sidekick, Nigel, and Emily Blunt--with her spot-on comedic timing--shows why she's a young actress to watch. And, of course, you've got to love Simon Baker as the incurable, impossibly-handsome rake, Christian Thompson. He is the ultimate guilty pleasure in this movie; the cad you know is no good for Andy, but who is so disarmingly charming that you want to see them hook up anyway. I was not the only woman in the movie theater hoping that Andy would dump her boyfriend Nate and get together with Christian! (No small feat, since Adrian Grenier is pretty easy on the eyes as well).
The only reason this movie didn't get 5 stars is the forced "reconcilation" between Andy and Nate. He had no qualms about moving to Boston to chase his dream of becoming a chef, and I don't think that Andy had any reason to be apologetic about being just as driven about her career goals, whether at Runway magazine or elsewhere. To be quite honest, Nate seemed more like a whiner and an impediment than a supportive boyfriend you would want Andy to get back together with. But this is the only minor pet-peeve I have about this film. Otherwise, TDWP was a great movie that I actually enjoyed even more than the book (for a change!), and will definitely be picking up when it's released on video. Watching Meryl Streep do what she does best is worth the price of admission alone.
on June 30, 2006
What I enjoyed most about "The Devil Wears Prada" is that it's an intelligent movie. It maintains a sense of humor without getting juvenile or patronizing, and in an odd sort of way, it indirectly teaches the audience a valuable life lesson. Specifically, it states that you should live the life you truly want to live. I know how hokey that sounds, considering most go to the movies to be entertained. They rarely go to be given a positive message. But this film had that kind of effect on me, and as strange as it may seem, I actually feel better for having seen it. I initially didn't think I could appreciate a story revolving around the fashion industry. I've never been a part of that world, and I have no idea if its representation in this movie is accurate. But as it progressed, I began to see the big picture, one that has nothing to do with fashion. It has to do with maintaining personal integrity in the midst of a cutthroat world.
In that sense, this movie can be viewed as a satire. But that may be too much of a stretch, because it's one of the subtlest satires I've ever seen. That's because nothing about it is over the top, despite the quirky circumstances and the one of a kind characters. Even Meryl Streep's performance as demonically career-oriented Miranda Priestly isn't overdone. However, her character does have some distinctly caricature-like qualities: she's the impatient, capricious, and cynical editor of the fashion magazine "Runway," and she demands much out of her employees. Most of the time it's almost too much, and they are barely able to keep up. (Why else would she be notorious for firing assistants?) Yet she expresses herself quietly and calmly, as if she were completely emotionless. Granted, that kind of demeanor does nothing to lessen the tension her presence inevitably causes. Despite a dedicated staff, it seems that no one is capable of handling such a difficult person.
Then enters Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a recent college graduate who hopes a job at a magazine will help her on her way to becoming a journalist. The moment she enters the magazine's main New York office, she's bombarded by flurries of activity and demeaning remarks about her sense of fashion (which she receives a lot during the course of the movie). The first person she meets is Emily (Emily Blunt), an outwardly snobby but inwardly insecure British girl who has just been promoted to First Assistant. She clearly doesn't take Andy seriously, and she doesn't expect Miranda will, either. When Miranda and Andy meet for the first time, we're led to believe that Emily was right in how Miranda would feel. Before that day, Andy had never read "Runway," nor did she know whom Miranda was. Why should she take part in a magazine she's completely unfamiliar with? Andy leaves the office feeling rejected, thinking it was a complete waste of time. So imagine her surprise when Emily stops her in the lobby and tells her she's been hired.
Thus begins an absolutely whirlwind journey for Andy. She's asked to do a multitude of menial tasks, such as bringing Miranda coffee, picking up articles of clothing, answering the phone, taking messages, and setting up various appointments (among other things). She quickly learns that everything has to be done perfectly and in a timely fashion. Any mishaps or delays meet with intense, ego-shattering criticism, not only from Miranda, but from the other employees, as well. Emily's attempts to brief Andy on technical skills and proper behavior are almost degrading, especially when she gloats about accompanying Miranda to Paris in the spring (for an important fashion show, no less). Encounters with Nigel (Stanley Tucci)--Miranda's wardrobe manager--almost always lead to wisecracks about Andy's figure (she's a size six, which is practically obese in the fashion world). However, their attacks actually do more to teach Andy than they do to defeat her. Gradually, she comes to understand just how this industry works, and to everyone's surprise, she adapts herself accordingly. She wears the correct clothing and dons the appropriate shoes, all the while working to earn the respect of her coworkers (and hopefully Miranda).
But there is one thing she fails to learn: she's paying a pretty high price for success. Being at the mercy of a ruthless boss is driving a wedge between her and her social life, especially when it comes to her boyfriend, Nate (Adrian Grenier). From his point of view, she's trying to make herself fit into a preconceived image, in turn making her forget who she really is. The Andy who wore regular, unfashionable street clothes was the woman he loved; she was fun, energetic, and she knew what she wanted to accomplish. But now she wears chic, expensive clothing with gaudy accessories, and she's too busy to spend time with anyone (it reaches a crescendo when she misses Nate's birthday). She's basically trying to reach an impossible standard of beauty, all in the name of success. She initially defends herself, but she eventually realizes that she's sold her soul to the Devil (hence the meaning behind the title).
That's when everything suddenly gets complicated for Andy, especially since Miranda is learning to trust her on a deeper level. She now has privileges most new assistants never come close to earning, including access to a mock up fashion book and no longer having to hang up Miranda's coat and bag. She's even offered Emily's ticket to Paris (I won't say if she actually accepts it). However, Andy is still expected to complete difficult tasks, all of which are getting more and more outrageous; at one point, Miranda asks her to obtain the unpublished manuscript of the next "Harry Potter" novel (a gift for her twin daughters who refuse wait for its actual publication). The time eventually comes when Andy has to seriously consider what she wants out of life. She also has to decide whom she wants to share it with; in light of the problems she's having with Nate, she finds herself attracted to Christian Thompson (Simon Baker), the seductive and high profile editor of another New York magazine.
All of the relationships in this movie--be it professional, romantic, or friendly--are complex, a quality I found appropriate given the way real relationships work. No one in this film is a flat, undeveloped stereotype. Even Miranda, as hardened as she is, has another side to her; you might even call it a softer side (but I'm using the word "softer" loosely, here). Hidden within these various sides is the key to understanding why the character interactions are so important. Essentially, they're important because everyone's concerned about their current lives and their futures. To give a few examples, Nate wants to be a chef, Emily wants to be respected, and Nigel wants the freedom to think for himself. To some extent, we root for all the characters.
But the one we root for the most is Andy, who wants nothing more than to continue writing articles as a real journalist. In witnessing her struggle with the fashion industry, we learn something valuable: we need to be true to ourselves if we want to achieve our goals. It's that aspect of "The Devil Wears Prada" that made it an enjoyable movie. While it may not be inspiring enough to change your life, it at least gets you to think about the direction your life is going in. I think everyone needs to do that from time to time. If it takes a movie of wit and wisdom to make that possible, then so be it.
While this film highlights how a college student makes the leap from school to professional life, I also believe that it highlights Meryl Streep's enormous talent although she is not the lead character. She gives such a commanding performance as the dominant impossible boss. In fact there are several outstanding supporting characters such as Stanley Tucci. He is priceless as the guy you love to hate. A really good script, plus great actors equal a great movie!
Andy Sachs (Hathaway) applies for the job of second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Streep), the editor of "Runway" magazine. "Runway" is THE magazine for the fashion industry, and Andy has no fashion sense. Miranda is revered by all who know her. She has the power to make or break people in the industry, and she is not afraid to use this power. Work for her for a year, and countless doors will open. Of course, others like Emily (Blunt), Miranda's number one assistant and Nigel (Tucci) have become fixtures at the magazine, while waiting for those doors to open.
Miranda hires Andy on a whim, hoping she has what it takes despite her appearance. Andy dislikes the shallowness of her coworkers, but soon finds herself becoming more like them. Will she get sucked into that lifestyle, or will she me able to resist and remain true to herself?
Meryl Streep makes this movie work, and is the prime reason to see it. She dominates every scene she is in. She is both cruel and funny, sometimes at the same time. Hathaway, Tucci, and Blunt are also very good, especially when playing off of each other. This is definitely a "chick flick", but is entertaining and really funny at times. Not everyone's cup of tea, but worth giving a shot.
on December 7, 2006
Yes, we have seen the storyline before. So What?? Almost every movie Hollywood has been making in the last 20 years are "new" versions of old storylines. But this is an enjoyable film, and I think the director did a great job. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Isn't it easy to fall into the trap? Andy, of good intentions, does what every job seeker does: to please the boss. And yet the road to success is never easy, and one minute you think you know yourself and your choices, yet somehow, without any meaning to, you find yourself on a completely different path than the one you started out with.
Some of you have bosses that are easy to please. I have met and worked with bosses like Miranda Priestly, and it's true, there are people like that in the world. Meryl Streep did a fantastic job of conveying such a tyrannical boss.
And Anne Hatheway is beautiful. Audrey Hepburn will never be replaced. But among the stars of today, Anne Hathaway is MILES ABOVE stars like J. Lo, Britney Spears, and all those stars who think they are stars, but are nothing but crap.
Anne Hathaway is a much better role model than Britney Spears or J. Lo, Anne is definitely elegant, refined, and a lady. And we need more actresses who portray good manners, good breeding and good education.
Just because the way the ending is not a bang, doesn't mean it's a bad movie. Every time when we make a right decision, there won't be fireworks going off, or large celebrations to tell us we are right, and I think a lot of people are confused about that. They think that's what the movies should always provide.
In real life, assistants cannot afford to dress like Anne did in the movies. But we are in a movie. So just enjoy it for what it is. A great movie that reminds us: choose the real important things in life vs. choose the frivolous things in life like fame, fashion and glamour, which fades in an instant.
on May 31, 2016
From the catchy opening music and scenes, to the very end, this is a visually appealing, fun film. In my opinion, Meryl Streep's best role ever, and she has fun with it. Anne Hathaway is excellent, except for the not very believable stammering parts which we could have done without. Didn't like the boyfriend much, but loved Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci. A piece of fluff for sure, but it's a fun, guilty, pleasurable fluff which can be watched over and over. The message and ending was contradictory and didn't ring true (why NOT stay in a job you love, even if you are changing? Andy had accumulated enough of her own power by the end of the film that she could have chosen to stand up for herself AND kept the job and even put Miranda in her place.) But alas, the film went another direction, which was not altogether wrong. Really, who cares? It wasn't meant to be taken seriously in the first place.