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The Devil Wears Prada

August 25, 2010

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Director: David Frankel
Actors: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt

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Synopsis: Midwestern graduate Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) inadvertently gains a job with top US fashion magazine, Runway. Although initially sceptical, she soon becomes the favourite employee of her draconian boss (Meryl Streep) and becomes in thrall to the fashion world she once mocked….

Review: The Devil Wears Prada wants to be a cautionary tale of how a young woman loses, then restores, her sense of integrity in the upper echelons of the fashion world. Unfortunately, the film is never really rigorous enough in playing with this problematic, and instead dabbles in standard plotting and cheap rhetoric to get its message across. Anne Hathaway’s character becomes a mere cipher as the dowdy Midwestern graduate (are we really supposed to buy the scruffy hair and baggy jumper routine?), and Meryl Streep, despite her best intentions with a naturalistic performance that plays against the “Cruella Deville” set-up, portrays an unfathomably sadistic boss whose outright demonstrative demands (“fetch me a copy of the latest unpublished manuscript of Harry Potter”) are one shade beyond dramatic plausibility. The movie does hint at important themes, such as the way that power and tyranny cower the meek into sycophancy, but ultimately the decent premise is hindered by the fluffy treatment, and an unwillingness to shade its themes in a darker, more realistic tone. (October 2006)

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