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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Spring, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada movie review

Fashion Diabolic and Divine


Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) wants to be a 'serious' journalist. She has a portfolio and college credentials and the need for a job. To her surprise she finds herself landing the job a million girls would kill for -- second personal assistant to the editor of Runway Magazine (Meryl Streep).

If she can keep the job for a year, says first assistant Emily (Emily Blunt), Andy can get a job anywhere. But to keep the job she must fetch and carry and answer phones and anticipate the demands of a harridan who expects complete devotion to her interests and bizarre demands.

Movie poster, The Devil Wears Prada; Festivale film review

Movie poster, The Devil Wears Prada; Festivale film review

Hell On Heels.

Yes, an executive working unhealthy hours under enormous pressure needs someone to get the ordinary business of life done for them, but Miranda Priestly, diva editor, is the classic American P.A.'s nightmare. A combination of far too much influence with almost no constraints and absolutely no conscience have rendered her, in a word, diabolic.

Our heroine Andy, struggling at the beginning of her career, supported by a loving financially generous family and surrounded by friends must make herself over to satisfy the requirements of her new job. Some of what she is learning is going to be useful to her for the rest of her life -- making and using contacts, identifying tasks, working out how to do them and meeting deadlines -- these are all excellent life and business skills. But Andy dresses our of bargain bins with no style and that puts her in conflict with the culture of a fashion magazine.

What to do? What changes should Andy make to become an effective person in life and at work, and what changes will lessen her as a person?

The beautiful slender Hathaway is a terrible choice for Andy. She looks lovely despite her grab-bag clothes and we all know that all she needs is someone to take her in hand to turn caterpillar to butterfly.

Stanley Tucci plays her 'fairy godmother', giving Andy a stern dose of reality while immersing her in the rarefied and shallow world of being pretty. Emily Blunt as the assistant who loves the fashion world plays a beautiful stepsister. She is skilful, working in the field she loves, and uninterested in befriending an ugly duckling. Meryl Streep plays the beautiful but sociopathic Miranda without camping it up, demonstrating the maxim 'less is more'.

The film tells the story of a life-changing experience. It questions values and shows both sides, giving Streep the opportunity to point out that there are millions of people whose lives depend on the fashion and clothes retail industries. The characters are well-drawn and we do want Andy to come to a happy end, but it is somewhat difficult to be completely sympathetic when the ugly sister has alabaster skin, large clear eyes, a healthy figure and a cute boyfriend.

Beautifully photographed and well-paced, The Devil Wears Prada is well-produced entertainment. Worth watching on those occasions when you're not in the mood for something improving.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 28 Sept 2006
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna (screenplay) Lauren Weisberger (novel)
Directed by: David Frankel
running time: 109 mins
rating PG

The Players: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker

Official website:
IMDb entry

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