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The Devil Wears Prada
The Demanding World of High Fashion
by Anhoni Patel on Jun 29, 2006
Directed by David Frankel (best known for his work directing episodes of some of HBO's most critically-acclaimed series including "Entourage", "Sex and the City" and "Band of Brothers") The Devil Wears Prada, an adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's best-selling novel, is as light and fluffy as its literary counterpart.
The novel, although supposedly wholly fictional, seems to have drawn quite a bit of inspiration from Weisberger's own year long stint as Vogue's chief editor Anna Wintour's assistant. It, like the film, chronicles the experience through the character Andy Sachs.
The disarmingly lovely Anne Hathaway plays Andy, an aspiring journalist who lands an interview at Runway magazine, the fictional equivalent of Vogue, for a coveted position as an assistant to the editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep who is more dowdy than chic here), the fictional equivalent of Anna Wintour who is supposed to be the human equivalent of Satan.
Dowdy and as fashion-unworthy as she may be, Andy is, surprisingly, hired. Employees shirk in fear in Priestly's wake, and Andy is no exception. But, as people keep on telling her, "A million girls would kill for this job!" So our heroine decides to stick it out in the hopes of being able to have her pick of prestigious journalism positions after her year of hell is over. If only it was that easy. During the year, she has to deal with not only her diva-like boss and the judgmental fashion world but also with her suffering personal life.
As in The Princess Diaries, Hathaway goes from geek to chic, but this time with more stunning results. The actress succeeds in portraying an over-eager, hardworking self-sacrificial assistant fresh out of college. But then again, it's not as if this role is that far a reach. Hathaway herself is an eager, hardworking actress trying to build her chops and transition from teen flicks to more adult fare. However, she does not succeed with that goal here. Her role as Lureen, Jack Twist's wife in Brokeback Mountain, although less substantial was a lot more nuanced and a lot more interesting.
Streep, whose bouffant reminds one more of a banal species of bird rather than an elegant coif, is all breathy words and steely glares. While the actress inhabits the role of the "Dragon Lady" quite nicely -- firing off commands and unreasonable requests as easily as she breathes -- her wardrobe is quite lacking and takes away from her character's credibility. For someone who is supposed to reign as the queen of the fashion world, she sure doesn't know how to dress. It looks like half her wardrobe was pulled off the bargain rack at Marshall's. Say what you will about Anna Wintour, but the woman knows fashion and how to wear it. Miranda Priestly obviously does not. Adrien Grenier of "Entourage" fame is wholly unforgettable as Andy's boyfriend. Simon Baker as Christian Thompson, a writer of renown who befriends Andy, is much more memorable for his sly and wily ways.
Fans of the novel will be satisfied with this adaptation. While there are changes, the film does not stray too far from the original storyline. The Devil Wears Prada is a good option for those who don't feel like watching yet another action flick or romantic comedy this summer. And for those of you who love fashion, it's the only option (drab wardrobe or not).
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
by Anhoni Patel on Jun 29, 2006
images courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Anne Hathaway as Andy
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly