Anthony's Film Review
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Even with a predictable plot, the stars of this movie are still a reason to watch it...
Just from its title alone, you can pretty much guess what The Devil Wears Prada is all about. Many of us are aware that the world of fashion and modeling is glamorous to the outsider but yet so cruel to those in the business. No wonder female models tend to suffer from narcissism and anorexia nervosa. The business is tough, and it's all because society is so shallow with people wanting anything that is hot and trendy at the moment. Just imagine how an ordinary person entering this industry could change for the worse.
If you understand all of this, you pretty much know the plot and themes of The Devil Wears Prada, a movie based on a novel by Lauren Weisberger, even before seeing it. That's because the story is a reflection of these real-life observations of fashion, not really a twist on them. Now, I'm not saying the movie isn't engaging. It is. It's just that my interest in the movie was not in a cleverly written plot but rather in the performances of its two stars, Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.
Let's start with Meryl Streep. She has had many notable performances over the years, and her role as Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief for a fashion magazine called Runway, is certainly another. Miranda is a character who is so arrogant, strict, demanding, and rude that anyone could not help but call her a witch (or a certain word that rhymes). Because of her behavior, Miranda's assistant named Emily Chalton (played by Emily Blunt) has become a hyperactive slave who is practically ready to have a nervous breakdown.
Even though Miranda has a reputation of being difficult, the job of being her assistant is something millions of young women would kill for, because Miranda is world famous. This is where Anne Hathaway comes in. She plays Andrea "Andy" Sachs, a graduate of Northwestern University who aspires to be a fashion journalist by becoming Miranda's second assistant. Andy figures that such a job would open doors in the industry. Until then, she has to bear the pain and torture of Miranda's endless and often ridiculous demands, including one involving an unpublished Harry Potter book. (Yes, even Miranda could have children in her family.)
Much of the first half of the movie is depiction of Andy's miserable life as Miranda's assistant. This is best exemplified by how, every time Miranda enters the office, she throws her purse and coat onto Andy's desk, practically slamming them. Emily's constant and frantic advice to Andy doesn't make it easy, either. Now, you might think these types of scenes are not interesting because they sound mundane. But don't ignore the performances of the cast. The stars make the movie watchable.
And it does get better in the second half. Any good story presents characters who change or evolve later on. That's certainly the case here. Andy gives herself a glamorous makeover and, even while continuing to take Miranda's abuse, becomes proficient at her job. That's when the rewards of the job finally come... along with the price of it. As you may expect, Andy learns from this experience. And before I forget, even Miranda has something to show: a different side underneath her cold exterior.
Again, the movie may be somewhat predictable, but it's the stars who keep it together. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway are actresses of different generations who play their roles equally well. Had this movie hired two average or sub-par actresses instead, I'd probably say that the movie is mediocre. But it's not. Overall, I enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada, as both a glimpse into the fashion industry and a modern take on the idea of selling one's soul to the devil (even if the devil has a sense for good fashion).
For more information about The Devil Wears Prada, visit the Internet Movie Database.