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The Devil Wears Prada


A budding journalist joins a fashion magazine in order to gain experience and a jumping off point for a more serious career. She becomes the second assistant to a, shall we say, demanding editor-in-chief (Meryl Streep). A typical coming-of-age story, young Andy must become what she hates in order to impress her boss: one of those Glamazons in Prada and Gucci. Oh how she must suffer.

What I Thought

Hello my cupcakes! No, it's not Superman yet, I had to promise to go to a non-superhero/mutant/scifi/Pixar movie at least once in order to get my movie companion to see that one. But that's coming up next!

First, a warning: I have not read the book, so I don't know the storyline was changed or modified. I only address the movie.

Like a cupcake with its empty calories--despite the creamy and chocolaty goodness on top, this movie is a sweet nothing. It wishes it could stay a lifetime on your hips, but for that you do need a bit more meat.

OK, I'll stop the food metaphor.

Prada reminded me very heavily of Coyote Ugly, also a fun "coming-of-age" (even though the "age" is your twenties) where the young protagonist must deal with Real Life and How To Get Ahead Without Losing Your Soul. The package comes complete with a hateful rival (whose not really that hateful), a wise guide (FANTASTICALLY played by the wonderful Stanley Tucci), and of course, the all-knowing, seemingly evil (but just maybe a heart of gold beats somewhere in there!) big boss.

Let's talk about the bad stuff first.

I have two problems with the storyline. First, the main character (played by Anne Hathaway), really doesn't change all that much. She starts out a fashion-novice (illiterate is more like it) and becomes Fashion Goddess in a big makeover, but she really doesn't become a bad person. She doesn't lose her soul or make any morally questionable choices. Which brings me to my second problem: that the character's crisis isn't real. She starts losing her boyfriend and even her friends because she becomes an Important Person. Granted, it's as an assistant to a fashion editor, not exactly working for the U.N., is it? But so what? If you're important in your job, then you're important in your job.

So, I'm sorry Ms. Best Friend, but you have no leg to stand on when you criticize Andy about how she is absorbed in her work while YOU stand in the middle of your first photography gallery opening. You do what you need for YOUR profession, and she does likewise.

Oh, and Mr. Boyfriend, you're a line cook at a 3rd rate restaurant mixing sauces all day. Just because she's more important and glamorous than you doesn't mean you're still not "the man". Back off.

At one point, Andy is talking to a reporter about Meryl Streep's character and says to the effect that if the editor-in-chief were a man, she would be applauded for what she does. And therein lies the paradox of this movie. That may be the message, but Andy falls into the same trap. I'm important and successful, let me give all that up to make my boyfriend and group of friends happy. Huh?

ESPECIALLY since she is still a good person inside! (see complaint #1) If she had "changed" and become seduced by Prada and Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, then we'd have a valid point of crisis. But just because you wear it, doesn't make you BE it. It just makes you look goooood.

Now on to the good stuff. That can be said in four words: Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci (the "and" doesn't count). I've already talked a little about Tucci, but just to add that he's fantastic without being over the top. Wonderful performance. And Streep! She is amazing as the demanding and evil editor. She has the very best lines, a great sense of timing, and just enough sneer in her voice to make you shrink in your seat as she destroys Andy's preconceptions of the fashion industry. Cruella lives!

In the end, a fully enjoyable movie, even without the little colorful sprinkles on top.


All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.