|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Books||Female Sociopaths||Recommended Links||Psychopaths in Movies||Films depicting female sociopaths||The Hare Psychopathy Checklist|
|Dangerous Liaisons||The Last Seduction||Fatal Attraction||The Devil Wears Prada||Body Heat||Basic Instinct||The Proposal|
|Communication with Corporate Psychopaths||Fighting Corporate Psychopaths||Observing and Documenting Behavior of Corporate Psychopaths||The Hare Psychopathy Checklist||Humor||Random Findings||Etc|
This is a tragicomedy, a grotesque (everything in the film is exaggerated and overplayed) 2006 film (with pretty average 6.8 rating at IMDB.com) depicting female sociopath in corporate environment, aka female version of "Boss from hell"(BFH) Miranda, played by Meryl Streep. Still there is a lot of positive on the movie: there is a well written dialog, great acting from two main characters and several supporting one. There is no filthy language to endure and no boring, overly blatant sex scenes, so typical for modern Hollywood production. Billed as a "comedy/drama," the film is never very touching and only mildly amusing. Such out of place tricks as Miranda preoccupation with coffee delivered in time in the morning is really out of place even in grotesque, comedy film. In 1988 every office has pretty powerful coffee brewing machines, that in a way were superior to the one used by retailers (especially in the brand of coffee used). In no way this is equal to Dangerous Liaisons (1988) or its more modern versions such as Cruel Intentions (1999) .
This film is multidimensional like any good movie. And one dimension that is often missed is about how criminal the fashion industry with its cult of thinness is.
Generally atmosphere in the film is dark: everyone in this film is a shark and everyone is mean. There is only one positive personage (the father of the main heroine). But fortunately even as a tragicomedy it has some educational value. We see a corporate empire that revolves around a single woman, the dictator, who surrounded herself with sycophants, afraid to contradict any of her (sometimes bizarre) actions. The film is based on Lauren Weisberger's (who actually worked as an assistant to 'Vogue' editor Anna Wintour) 2003 novel of the same name. U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Priestly (the female boss of the main heroine in the movie).
All-in-all the beginning of the film looks more like a fairly pedestrian teen movie. The situations in which the main heroine fids herself are stereotyped and predictable. The movie that can be warmly embraced by all those starving fans of Sex in the City as well as those who already experienced an occupational hazard to report to psychopathic, over-demanding and cruel boss :-), but among those stereotyped situation there are several interesting scenes, such as the interview of Andrea and scenes between Andrea and her friends at the restaurant. There are definitely some good jokes and dialogs in this movie. Some of the dialogs between the magazine co-workers is smartly written and beautifully executed by actors. Additional value of the movie is that somehow the producers avoided adding too much soft porn -- now obligatory for Hollywood movies "bed scenes" (at lest one now is obligatory :-) with sex acts shown in all their glory/misery as, for example, in Basic Instinct or Fatal Attraction.
Miranda is depicted as a female boss from hell, a control freak. Meryl Streep is excellent in this role. But it is unclear why people obey her. People can bear with pretty crippled socially individuals in such position only if they are wizards (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison come to mind). Steve Jobs was actually pretty similar narcissistic (me me me !!!) micromanager, and perfectionist. Grossly unfair in his early years. With authoritarian tendencies probably in some ways worse then Miranda's. No wonder Jobs's detractors have been making ironic reference to Apple's famous 1984 Super Bowl ad, the one that implicitly cast the IBM-Microsoft alliance as Big Brother. But he was a talented, a passionate man, basically an artist, who was razor-sharp focused on making the best products. Products that were beautiful. Fashinista of electronics, if you wish. He wanted to control every aspect of product but first and foremost its appearance. Including how your pay for an item in a store. Or what it looked like in a box. But Jobs was open to other people's ideas. As Larry Edison said about him "Steve was one of those people where the best idea won. But you had to persuade him, and he was a smart guy. Steve was not intellectually insecure. When he decided someone had a better idea, he moved on immediately. He didn't care. All he cared about was building the best product." Being this kind of control freak is different from being the kind of control freak who wants to amass as much power as possible over information flow and then use it to stifle expression
Here we have an individual who is devoid of great intellect and vision, as well as any subtlety (see neither funny or realistic see 12:31 "coffee scene"), who is way too explicit in her "over demanding", "overbearing" behaviour, and who does not display the signs of great intelligence, or subtle manipulation skills typical for such individuals. The only interesting insight that is definitely present in the movie is how such bullies instantly size up and chose their "doormat" victims. And how they essentially enslave them forcing them to cater to all their whims (in this film this includes appearance -- forcing the victim to slim to size 4). There is no any suspense, the plot is banana (or Sex in the City) predictable. But Still clothed in an endless array of fashionable outfits, Meryl Streep looks like a real fashion guru: she hasn't looked this beautiful in a long time and this film reminds us that she is a very attractive woman as well as gifted actress.
The environment is pretty misogynic in which women are treated like objects and "walking hangers just to see how the fabric of clothing design flows". It is a very cruel, cut throat environment, like many real corporate environments are. The absurd preoccupation with woman thinness that Miranda, as editor-in-chief spread is another good take on the absurdness of the US culture in general. This "for profit", induced social cult of female thinness breaks lives of so many teenage girls that perpetrators should probably go to jail. They are not different from criminals who sold subprime mortgages, and their motivation is the same -- money, and only money. Epidemic of bulimia that results from their action does not bother them one bit. This cruel, cruel, cruel, neoliberal world.
Blazing with excessive self confidence, which would make communist dictators look shy, Miranda Pristley is a monumental modern corporate "bee queen", an executive who scrupulously lives out Teddy Roosevelt's dictum to walk softly and carry a big stick. She bears some resemblance (at least in cult of personality longings) to Carly Fiorina with her black helicopters (BTW she was briefly the vice-presidential running mate of Ted Cruz, another "very interesting" character about whom a similar movie can be made ;-).
But what is important is that if we view the movie as an educational material is that Meryl Streep excels in depicting Miranda Priestly as the self-absorbed, career-obsessed female psychopath, who view other people as a mere tools, as objects. This is probably the key to the movie success and the character that people want to see when buying DVDs with the movie. And tricks such character play with subordinates is what we can learn from the movie. That means that Meryl Streep might actually saved the film with its mediocre plot and shallow storyline and characters. Without her this movie would be as unbearable as most TV commercials. Among others, she delivers such lines as:
Miranda Priestly: ...You have no sense of fashion...
Andy Sachs: I think that depends on...
Miranda Priestly: No, no, that wasn't a question.
Miranda Priestly: Find me that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday morning.
Miranda Priestly: By all means move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me.
Miranda Priestly: Details of your incompetence do not interest me.
Please note that like any real feudal Miranda never raises her voice above normal speaking level speaking to her serfs. In a classic feudal fashion, she makes impossible demands to a young women who gets the impossible done out of nothing more than fear. When one of her staff has transgressed, or simply cannot fulfill her expectation (I doubt Superman could hold a job there), she expresses her disappointment in the softest tone possible. And yet, the anticipation of her negative reaction is what makes such moments the moments of such intensity. Of course, she never compliments anyone when they've done well. Excellent performance is taken for granted in this kingdom.
In a sense a raging tyrant would be less frightening. Rather, it is the even-tempered soft-spoken empress with the absolute power to hire and fire personnel, who sends anyone who to displeases her to the hallows with a disinterested wave of the hand. And that probably is the most terrifying. Streep has said she based this mannerism on Clint Eastwood, who as Dirty Harry talked very quietly but still was quite intimidating.
Anne Hathaway played clueless, socially crippled, deeply provincial female conformist. In other words (conformist is not a common term in the USA) Andrea Sachs(Andy) is a typical "doormat" girl. Actually another negative character despite her role as a suffering victim, which inject a heavy doze of sympathy into viewers of the film. Again, she is a negative character, a person without morale, without principles, and without will for resistance of oppression.
This female conformist is depicted in the same grotesque manner, as her overbearing boss. The portrait is somewhat unrealistic taking into account how indoctrinated are now early-twenties girls in all those stupid fashion trends. First, Andy comes to work looking like a college freshman dorm rat, oblivious to proper dress and grooming standards for the workplace of a fashion mag. If she's as smart as touted, she would not be that clueless. Her subsequent instant makeover into glamour queen merely underscores the stupid conceit of her initial frumpiness.
The key idea why she agree to a slave role is not very well expressed in film (she mention this in only one episode, when talking with her boyfriend, see 25:31), but well expressed in the book. She decided that she needs to survive just for one year and then got journalist job of her liking in less prestigious magazine, based on recommendation from Miranda (which as anything from Miranda, can't be rejected, even outside of her empire without grave consequences :-) So in way this is a story of temporary, voluntary office slave, who sold herself into pretty humiliating slavery voluntarily, despite having other, less glamorous, options. Not exactly a sex worker, but pretty close in many aspects.
But one realistic nuance in her role is that anyone can be caught in starting a new job with only the vaguest idea of what you are supposed to do (and how to do it) and finding that everyone expected you to perform competently, without any training or help, form day one. This is actually pretty horrifying experience, a typical corporate entrapment, that many can relate to. Another message that the film proves is that the world of fashion serves as the main flag instigator of the ridiculous, unrealistic standards for girls and actually cripple their health, if they try to conform to those stupid and unrealistic demands. Also, in the world of The Devil Wears Prada, there are no consequences, and no sore feet from running around town all day wearing ridiculous, high hill shoes. Unfortunately, when Hathaway's character proudly boasts that she's dropped from a size 6 to a size 4, it's done in such a way to make viewers believe that this is actually a good thing! I fear this movie might inspire is an increase in the number of victims of the epidemic of anorexia among young girls. So not only woman sexuality is now objectified (via "romantic love" propaganda), but their psychical size is objectified too.
The movie provides also pretty decent depiction of the process indoctrination of a young woman into bizarre religious cult, the Cunt of Thinness, the cult which damage health of so many young woman in the USA and Western Europe (and also led to epidemic of bulimia and anorexia among young women):
...single-minded pursuit of thinness and beauty has many parallels to a religious cult. In both cases a group of individuals is committed to a life defined by a rigid set of values and rules. Members of true cults frequently isolate themselves from the rest of the world and develop a strong sense of community. They seem obsessed with the path to perfection, which, though unattainable, holds out compelling promises. In following their ideals, they usually feel that they are among “the chosen.” To get an idea of what members of true cults experience, I interviewed Anna, a psychology student in her forties who had been a member of a spiritual cult many years earlier. Her descriptions of the required total immersion in a separate and controlled reality were chilling.
“We really became this very separate group of people, because our leader made that happen. He separated us from our families, and made us feel very bound to each other and to him, and different from everybody else."
But remaining in those ranks means constant vigilance. It demands adherence to certain beliefs (which may seem quite bizarre to outsiders) and the practice or spiritual rituals. Most religious cults center on a spiritual leaner who defines the path, and who threatens exile or worse to those of his flock who stray.
“Our guru considered himself infallible," Anna said. “He was beyond feedback, so that if 1 looked at him and saw something I didn't like, he told me that I was projecting, that he was merely a mirror for my own shortcomings ... He was really good at playing upon your weaknesses as a way to keep people bound to him, and I felt that the only reason my life had value was because of him and what this way of life had given me. Subconsciously, I thought I would die if I left him.”
Young women like Delia invest in thinness with the same intense, moment-to-moment, day-to-day involvement as religious cult members. They may not answer to a single leader, but bow instead to powerful cultural forces that define females in terms of their physical attributes. The influence of these forces is so pervasive that, in many ways, it is harder to resist. Being female is the primary criterion for membership in the Cult of Thinness. The object of worship is the “perfect" body. The primary rituals are dieting and exercising with obsessive attention to monitoring progress—weighing the body at least once a day and constantly checking calories. The advertising industry and the media provide plenty of beautiful-body icons to worship. There are numerous ceremonies— pageants and contests—that affirm the ideal.
And there are plenty of guides and gurus along the way. Often it is the mother who initiates the young novice into the secrets of losing weight. Some of the most revered oracles have celebrity as their major qualification. Jane Fonda, Cindy Crawford, and Oprah Winfrey are among those who advise their fans on the virtues or pitfalls of certain diets and exercises. Other sages have medical qualifications and have produced “sacred texts.” Dr. Atkin’s diet, the Scarsdale Diet, and the Pritikin Diet were created by best-selling diet doctors. The diet gurus can also be psychologists. Some make motivational audiotapes for their patients. Others have special phone-in hours for those who have fallen off their diets, or provide a special “intensive care” line for those in dire need.1 Such gurus come and go. Diet clubs and twelve-step weight loss programs introduce even more fervor toward shedding pounds. Their meetings are filled with conversion stories of how so-and-so “saw the light" and lost pounds, or fell from grace by ratine “forbidden" foods.
... ... ...
Those who have experienced the shared sacrifice of the cult create a “sacred" environment. Their common lifestyle brings them together and drives a wedge between them and the rest of society, who may come to be viewed as “profane. ” This split between what is considered sacred and profane mimics what our society associates with the terms “thin" and “fat." Thin is sacred. Thin is beautiful and healthy; thin will make you happy. If you are female, thin will get you a husband. Salvation awaits those who attain the ideal body.
Fat is profane. To be fat is to be ugly, weak, and slovenly; to have lost control, be lazy, and have no ambition. Achieving the proper weight is not just a personal responsibility, it is a moral obligation. Those who indulge in gluttony and sloth do not want to be among the “saved.”3
Just as there is a range of faith among the devotees of any religion, the women 1 interviewed can be positioned along a continuum. The most avid members of the Cult of Thinness engage in practices more characteristic of fringe cult movements, like the followers of Reverend Moon or Jim Jones. The rituals surrounding anorexia, bulimia, and exercise addiction carry the risk of emotional and physical damage, or even death.
Another problem here is that the standard of female beauty despite became unrealistic are internalized by both young men and women and are defined by unnaturally thin models and fashion industry which is not interested in women health, but is mainly interested in fat profits from "thin diet" products. As much, if not more as medical industry with its charlatan diet gurus is. In other words thinness now is what defines a young woman's self-worth. Here we sit, surrounded by size 20s on one hand at size 2 models on the other. There is a genuine crisis. The cultural preoccupation with women low weight, despite clearly being destructive, makes young women reluctant to rebel about this crazy cult:
No wonder she was reluctant to give up her behavior, she was terrified of losing the important benefits of her membership in the Cult of Thinness. She knew she was hurting psychologically and physically, but, in the final analysis, being counted among “the chosen” justified the pain. “God forbid anybody else gets stuck in this trap. But I'm already there, and I don’t really see myself getting out, because I’m just so obsessed with how I look. I get personal satisfaction from looking thin, and receiving attention from guys."
I told Delia about women who have suggested other ways of coping with weight issues. There are even those who advocate fat liberation, or who suggest that fat is beautiful. She was emphatic about these solutions.
“Bullshit. They live in la-la land ... I can hold onto my boyfriend because he doesn’t need to look anywhere else. The bottom line is that appearance counts. And you can sit here and go, ‘1 feel good about myself twenty pounds heavier,' but who is the guy going to date?"
See also Standards for Female Physical Beauty
It's the skills in defense from those predators which matters. And any university graduate who respects himself should have them. We see nothing of that, although she was billed at beginning of the film as a young talent, aspiring journalist, the former editor in-chief of the Northwestern University college newspaper (which means that she was selected among several pretty ambitious contenders and such job even in a small college newspaper should teach her a lot about dealing with people; she was the boss with several staffers) and even won national competition of college journalist with her investigative series on some problems in janitor unions (note the humor ;-). People who win such competitions should be almost like professional detectives, just as fearless :-). See her initial interview at 8:00 of the film. She actually cuts Miranda at the end, which is the only realistic part of the whole scène. BTW of all types of sociopaths only female bullies reveals her personality in such a direct and unimaginative way.
With her excellent school record she should be perfectly able to pick up couple of books on the topic or browse several Web pages. Also this is 2006 (two years before the crash of 2008; so job market, while not great, is still OK in NYC). I wonder how the scene of Andy reading a page about female sociopath on her office computer and Miranda seeing it would change the storyline ;-).
But there is a second, not so obvious, storyline in the film which is less stereotypical and more valuable. It is about how are unsupportive, bratty, jealous, and nasty friends and, especially boyfriends. In a way this condemnation of degradation of human ties and human solidarity in the neoliberal society and each need to fight for himself/herslef (or at least so is brainwashed).
Both her boyfriend and her friends are portrayed as simply jealous, mean and petty, people who do not love her for who she is, and badly want her to fail in order to preserve or increase their own self-esteem.
Anne Hadaways boyfriend actually acts in classic backstabbing way, envious of her success, and provides very little or no support for her in the most difficult period of her life. You obviously had precious little in common in the first place with the girl, if your girlfriend's unusually stressful year of work is enough to eviscerate all that you used to have in common. He just does not enjoy watching her succeed.
Another interesting character is the second level (or aspiring) "female bitch" character Emily Blunt, as Andrea's caustic fellow assistant, Emily. Emily is very charismatic, assertive (and pleasant to look). But instead of providing some support and demonstrating solidarity, she is the one who also tries to intimidate Andi and amplifies the level of the intimidation of her overbearing boss.
She is also pretty shallow for the position of "executive assistant" as her only dream is to be selected to go to Paris fashion show as a reward for all her sacrifices on the service to her domineering boss. Taking into account her level of income, this is a pretty unrealistic take on the situation, but we have what we have (for her level of income she can travel anywhere in the world and live in five star hotels as long as her vacation last; be it Paris, or London, or Maldivas).
Emily Charleston certainly seemed envious of Andy Sachs becoming the apple of Miranda's beady eyes. She was so keen to go to Paris and meet those models, designers and writers – if only Sachs did not get appointed. She may have selected the previous assistants purposely so that they disappoint Miranda and get fired; EMILY would get to be her assistant alone, had Sachs not arrived.
This young British lady looks like another variant of female sociopath, the "kiss up, kick down" personality. She is overdemanding, unsmiling, hateful, and bitter. Or, more correctly, female sociopath "in waiting"; she is so much like Mirandain personality. may be that's why she and Miranda don't get along all too well. Both initially behave extremely ugly toward Andi, but that does change later. In any case, here we have another example of a volunteer female slave to the "bee queen". And please remember that executive assistant to the editor n chief of major fashion magazine on Broadway is pretty highly paid job.
... Emily Blunt, as Miranda's first assistant, does a wonderful job as an insecure, over compensating slave to someone else's expectation. Her portrayal is cattily on target and provides the requisite foil to our heroine's wide-eyed innocence. Performance-wise this is commendable, but it leaves the audience with next to nothing to like about her character. The dilemma here is that the film presents her (as well as the character of Miranda) in such a way that we have this nagging feeling maybe we are supposed to like her in some way – and yet, we don't. This creates even more of a dilemma later on when Andrea – our supposedly intelligent, perceptive and grounded protagonist, played forgettably by Anne Hathaway-- makes attempts to befriend these two soulless women. Many are left to perceive her gestures as a weak and irritating need to be liked rather than any real nobility of character.
Another supporting role which is good is the role played by Stanley Tucci (as Miranda's loyal but beleaguered right-hand man, Nigel). Nigel is the magazine's Art Director, one of standard bearers of all this absurd excessively slim female fashion. In other words a criminal. But at the same time he is not completely negative personality -- he is the only one of Andrea's few colleagues to offer her some minor support. While he helps to indoctrinate Andy into a cult of thinness and encourages to be a slave to Miranda he provided her with clothing (rejected by Miranda) and some at warm human contact, without typical for males sexual overtones. He himself does everything to please Miranda as well. No matter how well one does a job for Miranda, it's just not enough.
Despite Nigel's obvious effeminacy, it is never made clear whether he is actually gay -- a surprising stance given Hollywood's normal liberalism on this subject. In any case he does not display any sexual interest in Andy. He helps Andy to dress "properly" and 'play the game'; the character many young girls wish to had in the office environment: supportive, but without any sexual tension. Stanley Tucci infuses a refreshing multidimensional behaviour and humanity to a character which was probably not written that way. On several occasions, he stole scenes from the supposedly "central" character of Andrea. Stanley Tucci plays ambitious, intelligent, hard working man completely brainwashed and indoctrinated by fashion industry "cult of thinness", but evil only as a follower as solder that executes criminal orders, not as a leader. My impression is that he is a person, who was crushed of his dreams of having a position of power like Miranda's some day and now became content with "slavering" for her, despite probably being stronger then her is several technical aspects of the industry, but not in character strength:
Similarily, even Stanley Tucci who plays Nigel, one of the most overused job trends as the effeminate gay designer, is convincing, so is Anne Hathaway as the naive rookie who learns the ropes... almost. She gives the first wrong signal when her carelessness to the world of fashioned is exaggerated by her ridiculous clothes, something begging to inspire the most excruciating mockeries, before the 'dramatic change', naturally.
While a welcome addition to the gallery of films about female sociopaths (and the title of the film is simply brilliant) this still a typical "thin" (should i say shallow) Hollywood film (which got only 6.8 rating at IMDB.com). Even Miranda's obligatory "vulnerability scene" is thin and comes too late in the film to matter. By this time we saw what she is capable of and we really don't care and do not much sympathy to appreciate it. Sociopath remains a sociopath even if she shed some tears. In Wall Street type of movies they shows the same cut-throat but male environment better and in more nuanced way (compare with Bonfire of Vanities).
The Devil Wears Prada struck me a shallow attempt of industry to sell a fake, well promoted and played by unabashedly good actresses and actors, but still a typical Hollywood fairytale. Stereotyped characters tossed in the "fashion industry" environment and "standardized" plotline here we go... There is no signs of employees resistance in the move to the brutal environment. In a way this is a typical neoliberal movie promoting the idea which is reflected in Roman proverb "homo homini lupus est" (man is a wolf to a fellow man).
The main value of the movie lies probably in depicting so called "female-dominated environment" which rarely is depicted in the movies and which deserves a study of its own. It's a pretty tough, and often ruthless and cruel environment to work for females, typically much tougher and more cruel for them, than a male dominated environment. The film provides kind of black mark for feminism and shown that in cut-throat environment woman can be as cruel as destructive as men, if not more. And how easily they can cripple fellow woman co-workers.
Another interesting and educational experience that this movie provides is how female sociopath bosses enslave their female co-workers instilling the behaviors they prefer. the attack on the personality and independence of Andy that Miranda launches to enslave her is also pretty educational. Another interesting nuance is that the victim is squeezed between the boss from hell and her asshole boyfriend (this "dual demands" situation happens for girls in early twenties, out of college pretty often) and we can only wander why, in such a miserable situation, she decided sacrifice everything on the altar of fashion industry and do not rebel. One problems with slavery is that slaves tend to rebel, and we do not see that in the movie.
Andrea (Anne Hathaway) is an aspiring journalist fresh out of Northwestern University. Despite her ridicule for the shallowness of the fashion industry, she lands a job "a million girls would kill for," junior personal assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the icy editor-in-chief of Runway fashion magazine. Andy plans to put up with Miranda's bizarre and humiliating treatment for one year in hopes of getting a job as a reporter or writer somewhere else.
At first, Andy fumbles with her job and fits in poorly with her gossipy, fashion-conscious co-workers, especially Miranda's senior assistant Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt). However, with the help of art director Nigel (Stanley Tucci), who lends her designer clothes, she gradually learns her responsibilities and begins to dress more stylishly to show her effort and commitment to the position. She also meets attractive young writer Christian Thompson (Simon Baker), who offers to help her with her career. As she spends increasing amounts of time at Miranda's beck and call, problems arise in her relationships with her college friends and her live-in boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier), a chef working his way up the career ladder.
Miranda is impressed by Andy and allows her to be the one to bring the treasured "Book," a mock-up of the upcoming edition, to her home, along with her dry cleaning. She is given instructions by Emily about where to leave the items and is told not to speak with anyone in the home. Andy arrives at Miranda's home only to discover that the instructions she received are vague. As she tries to figure out what to do, Andy begins to panic. Miranda's twins (Caroline and Cassidy, played by Colleen and Suzanne Dengel, respectively) falsely tell her she can leave the book at the top of the stairs just as Emily has done on many occasions. At the top of the stairs, Andy interrupts Miranda and her husband having an argument. Mortified, Andy leaves the book and runs out of the home.
The next day, Miranda tells her that she wants the new unpublished Harry Potter book for her daughters and, if Andy cannot find a copy, she will be fired. Andy desperately attempts to find the book, nearly gives up, but ultimately obtains it through Christian's contacts. She surprises Miranda by not only finding the book but having copies sent to the girls at the train station, leaving no doubt that she accomplished Miranda's "impossible" task, thus saving her job.
One day, Andy saves Miranda from being embarrassed at a charity benefit, and Miranda rewards her by offering to take her to the fall fashion shows in Paris instead of Emily. Andy hesitates to take this privilege away from Emily but is forced to accept the offer after being told by Miranda that she will lose her job if she declines. Andy tries to tell Emily on her way to work. However, Emily is hit by a car and Andy has to break the bad news while visiting her in the hospital.
When Andy tells Nate she is going to Paris, he is angered by her refusal to admit that she's become what she once ridiculed, and they break up. Once there, Miranda, without makeup, opens up to Andy about the effect Miranda's impending divorce will have on her daughters. Later that night, Nigel tells Andy that he has accepted a job as Creative Director with rising fashion star James Holt (Daniel Sunjata) at Miranda's recommendation. Andy finally succumbs to Christian's charms and, after spending the night with him, learns from him about a plan to replace Miranda with Jacqueline Follet as editor of Runway. Despite the suffering she has endured at her boss's behest, she attempts to warn Miranda.
At a luncheon later that day, however, Miranda announces that it is Jacqueline instead of Nigel who will leave Runway for Holt. Nigel remarks to a stunned Andy that, though disappointed, he has to believe that his loyalty to Miranda will one day pay off. Later, when Miranda and Andy are being driven to a show, she explains to a still-stunned Andy that she was grateful for the warning but already knew of the plot to replace her and sacrificed Nigel to keep her own job. Pleased by this display of loyalty, she tells Andy that she sees a great deal of herself in her. Andy, repulsed, says she could never do that to anyone. Miranda replies that she already did, stepping over Emily when she agreed to go to Paris. When they stop, Andy gets out and throws her cell phone into the fountain of the Place de la Concorde, leaving Miranda, Runway, and fashion behind.
Some time later, Andy is interviewed and is accepted to work at a major New York publication company. It was Miranda who insisted that they hire Andy, despite that she didn't work for her a full year, but the company would be "the biggest idiots" if they don't. After the interview, Andy meets up with Nate, who is moving to Boston because he got a new job as the sous chef of a restaurant. They agree to start dating again and see what the future holds. Andy calls Emily and offers her her Paris wardrobe and the two leave on good terms. Andy passes the "Runway" office building and sees Miranda get into a car. Andy gives a wave, but Miranda does not acknowledge her. Andy is used to this and instead walks further into the crowd. Once inside the car, however, Miranda smiles and then orders her chauffeur to drive.
..."I found Nate, the boyfriend character, absolutely insufferable through almost the whole of the movie. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the voice of reason that tries hard to keep Andy grounded and remind her what's truly important. Instead he came off as a sulky brat who could not accept his girlfriend's growing pains as she struggled to cope with an impossibly demanding, first ever grown-up job "
..."Ditto Andy's best friend, Lily, who seemed to me increasingly more jealous of Andy rather than supportive of her. Lily too was pursuing Bright Lights-Big City dreams that demanded a lot from a young newcomer, after all, so how is it that she had such a hard time with Andrea's chaotic ups and downs? Where did Lily get off being so judgmental and disapproving? This is friendship? "
..."No one disputes that Miranda Priestley was a Boss From Hell who routinely wiped her feet on her young assistants, particularly Andrea. But we also see that ultimately Miranda was as human as anyone else; a glamorous workhorse whose alley-fighter smarts hid real pain."
..."If Miranda put Andy through the wringer -- and she did -- well, she also taught her some important things (sometimes unwittingly) about hard work, hanging tough, and the choices we make in life to get to where we want to go or need to stay. Andy could have quit at the end of her first week (I think I would have) but no matter how bad or insanely silly things got, she didn't, at least not immediately. On some level she became aware that she was getting an education she wouldn't get anywhere else from anyone else, and there was value in that. I think she knew that; I hope she knew that. I hope the audience does, too. "
...She gloats about her losing weight to fit into smaller sizes when she was beautiful the way she was. This sends a horrible message to the young girls of the world. Anne Hathaway in this movie turns from a well educated well grounded woman to a fashion obsessed, weight obsessed, success obsessed woman. She sleeps with a man in a terrible "one night stand" and turns her back on her boyfriend and close friends. "
..."She gave up who she was to become some one else and only succeeded in making herself ugly."
..."You hit it out of the park, specifically the relationship between Nate and Andrea. Nate (and her other friends, save Doug) are unsupportive, bratty, jealous, and nasty. "
..."An unintelligent, inarticulate, doormat who we're supposed to like for some reason who learns absolutely nothing. She goes to work for some fancy magazine even though she seems totally incompetent, she starts being all shallow, then realizes she shouldn't be shallow. But at least she dropped from a size 6 to a size 4 and kept those cute boots!! Seriously, what is that?"
...This extremely handsome but ultimately mediocre 'comedy' is like a poor girl's version of "Sex and the City", (where "Sex and the City was ballsy at best, this is insipid). It's a wish-fulfillment fairy-tale about the poor girl holding on to her integrity when she's offered the moon by the Devil herself, like Dorothy standing up to the Wicked Witch of the West, and it's virtually plotless. It's just a series of vignettes leading up to the killer-punch; the Ice Maiden melts, (a little), and Dorothy goes back to Kansas.
...I never read the book, and I am not so much a fan of "Chick Lit," but I thought that "The Devil Wears Prada" was going to be a funny, sexy, fast-paced, smartass "Chick Flick" in the tradition of "Death Becomes Her" (That starred Meryl Streep as well in a wickedly funny comic performance as a self-centered 40ish actress working well opposite Goldie Hawn, the queen of funny middle-age chick flicks) and "The First Wives Club" (again with Goldie Hawn, taking it all as a faded screen diva).
...Blazing with self confidence, Miranda Pristley is a monumental modern queen. Hints of human trouble at her own personal castle doesn't disturb that imperious facade and her extraordinary talent to say "No"... When Hathaway's boyfriend tells her "You have become one of them" I wanted to shoot myself because that's obviously what was suppose to happen but other than different outfits and make up I saw no difference in the girl. I enjoyed very much Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt's performance and I'm recommending the film just to witness Meryl Streep, the greatest actress of our or any generation, dazzles us with an extraordinary new face.
...Unmissable for Meryl Streep fans. She plays second fiddle to Anne Hathaway here - screen time wise, otherwise she's the whole bloody orchestra. She's the one reason to see the film and that in itself is one hell of a reason. Meryl Streep is fearless and part of the joy of going to see her films is that we know for a fact that she's going to dare and dare and dare. From Sophie's Choice and A Cry in The Dark to Death Becomes Her and Plenty. Here the story is as unbearable as most TV commercials but she, Meryl/Miranda transforms it into something else. We connect with her evil queen because her evil queen is much more real, much more human than anybody else on the screen. Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci are fun but they're in the periphery of a story that's so wafer thing they can't really move to the center. Anne Hathaway is kind of invisible and her character only changes costumes and make up. There is no real tangible growth. Now that I got that out of my system. Go see Meryl be Miranda. You'll have a lot of fun.
...The Devil Wears Prada struck me much like the industry that provides its backdrop – pure surface, well promoted and unabashedly convinced of its own importance.
...The film is only watchable because of the efforts of three actors. Streep is superb -- as
always -- as Miranda Priestly, the self-absorbed, career-obsessed and patently unpleasant publishing
mogul. Every incredulous look and pursed lip is right on the mark. She is not however, showing us anything
we haven't been shown before – either about her acting or about women at the top. Even Miranda's obligatory
"vulnerability scene" is thin and comes too late in the film to matter. By the time we witness
what angst she is capable of, we really don't care. We are left with less a feeling of empathy than
a sense of justice. (If you want to see her be truly chilling and ruthless, check out the remake
of Mancherian Candidate.)
..Salma Hayek's adaptation of "Betty La Fea" as "Ugly Betty", starring America Ferrera, takes the same concept and does it quite a bit better, to tell the truth. I'd give this a skip and try watching the TV series instead; whatever its faults, at least it has a bit more heart than this mess.
...Even though she portrayed variations of the same demonic character in 1989's "She-Devil" and 1992's "Death Becomes Her", Meryl Streep truly nails it in this smart, creative 2006 comedy by underplaying the role and saving her verbal talons for pivotal moments. As Miranda Priestly, the despotic editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, Streep simply singes the screen every time she appears with her perfectly upswept hair; arrogant couture opinions and frequently unreasonable demands on her staff.
...It really takes someone of Streep's caliber to pull off the impossible character of Priestly because when she does have a moment of vulnerability, it resonates so much more than it should. Although she is far too pretty to be considered frumpy by anyone's standards, the naturally likable Anne Hathaway plays Sachs serviceably and looks sensational in a series of Chanel outfits. Sh Beauty Beauty to the story, even though the character arc is rather predictable. It does seem a shame that we are supposed to cheer the character's reduction from size 6 to 4, but that is probably as accurate as anything else in the film.
...The only character in the movie with any semblance to a real human being was Andy's father -- at least he expressed some genuine love and interest for somebody!? All others were unbelievably shallow, fake, vain, cruel, indifferent, snarkey, smarmy, etc., etc., etc., ... They tried all too hard to impress everybody, and wound up impressing nobody. Real Hollywood types!
...No! Miranda Pristley can say it or merely breath it and the refusal comes as a devastating blow to her eager bunch of minions . Those moments were my favorites in a film that promises a hearty meal but delivers a frustrating bland soufflé. Meryl Streep however, makes it palatable and some times right down delicious. Anne Hathaway , so good in "Brokeback Mountain", is so uninteresting here that she manages to survive only when she's sharing the frame with Meryl Streep and that's because we're not looking at her. How can the fairy tale be so uneven, how can we possibly root for the evil stepmother rather than Cinderella. That seems a miscalculation of enormous proportions. All in all I could actually seat through the whole thing again just to see Meryl/Miranda purse her lips.
...In the film, the corporation that is "Runway" is no democracy. It is feudalism, with Miranda the absolute queen ruling over her dominion of serfs who constantly scatter about trying to please her. The central character, Andy Sachs, is plunged into this Madison Avenue purgatory without knowing the rules of the game. A journalism-major from Northwestern, Andy knows next to nothing about the fashion world, but it's not just the fashion world -- it's the world of the elite in New York. Since everyone wants to gain favor from the higher-ups in order to step up the ladder, there's often over-the-top deference to those in elite positions. I half-expected her female assistants to curtsy when Miranda entered the office. Mirander knows perfectly-well her status and she uses it, often flaunts it, to her advantage. Her staff run around like castle servants anticipating the arrival of the Lady of the Manor.
...Or, put another way, it's essentially "The Princess Diaries" with much, much, muuuuuuuuuch better dialog and a slightly more sophisticated and dramatic story arc.
...So while older audiences may feel the film is a bit formulaic, the hysterical, but occasional cruel, one-liners and zingers hurled at Anne Hathaway's Andy are sure to keep them entertained. Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt get most of the barbs, and Blunt in particular is fantastic in the film.
...In this movie, women are obsessed with their exteriors in the mirror and with a bunch of goofy-looking clothes which, when they see themselves photographed in them fifteen years down the road will look as ludicrous as disco fashions look to us. They are permanently damaging their leg tendons from wearing high heels. They celebrate anorexia. This is a depiction of a slice of the real world, of course. While it is possible that most of these women are not smart enough to do science or engineering or real work, surely some of them are and it's a sad waste of human resources that they spend their time in this oppressive and oppressing career.
...Ann Hathaway, Penelope Cruz, Paz Vega, were these triplets separated at birth? Totally interchangeable as actresses down to the simplistic dialogue and the pat script of innocent lost in the big bad cities of the world, interchangeable too. Andy, the part that Ann Hathaway 'plays' is supposed to be a recent graduate of journalism school but not once did she give the impression of having mastered the English language. "Kinda" was a word she used a lot, the rest of her words had less letters.
...In the other story, the Meryl Streep character is an extremely talented fashion editor who is under tremendous pressure to make her magazine successful artistically and commercially. She is obsessive about her work because she cares about it and because she knows that she must do it extremely well in order to keep her position. She feels that her work is meaningful because it holds up an entire economic industry that includes mainstream as well as couture clothing and because (since fashion is fun when it's done well) it helps people of all sorts to enjoy life more. She believes that no one can do her job as well as she can, and she probably is right. She puts a huge amount of time into her job (losing two husbands and missing out on important times with her daughters as a result), and demands that the people who work for her show at least a fraction of her own dedication to their jobs as well as help to make her life a little easier. Because she is perfectionistic and under time pressure, she expects the people around her to be ultra- competent at all times and throws out chilly little comments when she feels her employees are not doing a good job or (especially) wasting her extremely precious time. She knows how business works as well as how to use her power in order to get what she needs in order to create a high-quality magazine and (in a cut-throat business) keep her job. At one point she hurts her most valued employee in order to keep herself from being fired, but (since she is shown helping people she thinks are talented even when it is not to her own benefit) it seems likely that she will help him to obtain other opportunities in the future. She is aware that the people who work for her are scared to death of her and that her general reputation is that of an icy terror, but she can't figure out how to do her job well plus have people like her. She also fails at all attempts to explain to other people why she acts as she does. After Andy (whom she thinks of as her protégé) quits, she is disappointed that the promising young woman decided to opt out of a career in the fashion business. Nonetheless, she is impressed and pleased that Andy is successfully seeking out her own chosen path in life, and helps her to do so by giving her a stellar letter of recommendation. In this reading of the story, the magazine editor is a tragic character of classic dimensions, in that she is not able to sustain relationships or obtain understanding from people around her while exercising her substantial professional and creative gifts.
...The one part of the previews that made me think I might like this movie was the speech Meryl Streep's character gives Andy about her blue sweater. This fine bit of writing gave me the impression that this movie had a more intelligent, nuanced and unexpected view on the fashion industry, rather than the usual view that fashion is hopelessly shallow, demands anorexia & self hatred, & is a haven for heartless & vindictive women. Instead the "sweater speech" seems to be a page from a different movie that was accidentally slipped into a script that confuses "comedy" with serving up the usual cardboard-caricaturing of the fashion industries' alleged politically-incorrect flaws.
...A mess of montages and moral emptiness, it's impossible to feel connected to any person, place or thing during this whole ordeal. The characters are so one dimensional you'll wonder if you're watching it on your Sega Master System. There's no real storyline and its intentions seem totally unclear.
...Meryl Streep is basically the whole reason for watching the film. As the tyrannical Miranda Priestly, she is worth the price of admission, or rental. Ms. Streep never raises her voice in order to get her point across. Her Miranda shows a cruelty beyond belief, yet, her own life is a mess. Miranda would be the last person to be a role model to imitate. Miranda is basically a self-made woman who probably came out of the same background of the young assistants she loves to terrorize, belittle and make them feel inadequate. Miranda can dictate to others, but she can't do anything to save her own marriage.
...In the weird somewhat perverse world of high fashion where supermodels - like Premier League footballers - seem to be above the law, the values appear to be those of bling and conspicuous consumption. Vacuous anorexic women are fawned over and the tabloids hover with all the grace of hyenas fighting over a rotting corpse.
...Unfortunately, Devil Wears Prada is not just another boss from hell movie. It highlights the values of the fashion industry – values which are incredibly superficial and damaging. If you are a woman and you happen to be lucky enough to wear a size 6 dress, you simply aren't lucky enough. If you aren't size 4 or below, you are fat and need to lose weight. Come on people!
...Speaking about worldbuilders and fashion. To appreciate this movie, you must see the one on which it relies, "Funny Face." Audrey Hepburn, with the smile that Hathaway mines. Similar situation: fashion, clunky girl becomes fashionably adept, conflict between the "real" and pretend (in that case, philosophy). A trip to Paris — some of the very same establishing shots in fact. An ambiguous resolution that in Hepburn's case involved photography instead of writing.
...And Miss Blunt. Oh my! Miss Blunt, so talented, delivers the goods in the supporting actress express lane. What WAS her first name? Oh Emily! Emily! Yes, Emily there you are. How many times do I have to scream (or shout) your name? Emily, get the name of that actress, you know the one I mean, and fax it over to Irv at the Kodak theater. And I want it done by three o'clock. Do you understand Emily? That's all.
...Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger, this film adaptation from Director David Frankel was well-received by critics but for me, it lacked a je ne sais quoi. It needed a little more of a tragic tone to emphasize the poignancy that seems to be taking over toward the end of the film. Instead, it appears to cop out at the end and fit the formula of a mainstream Hollywood film. The Weisberger novel was witty and well-written, and read like a funny memoir of a young New York girl's experience in the fashion industry and her not being able to properly fit in, despite some success. The film captured a little of this, but ultimately the style of the film fits in with mainstream films in which the heroine does not appear to take in what she's learned and does not appear affected by her isolating experiences. Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs (notice that her last name is like "Sachs Fifth Avenue") is only a little god but Hathaway has very little experience with serious films or at least films like this one and her acting style is better used in comedies. She is trying too hard and it shows. Meryl Streep's acting is no doubt always good, but in this film, she does not capture the diabolical "Cruella De Ville" type of character I remember reading in the novel. Miranda Priestly is a cold, ambitious, proud woman who has risen to the top as a high fashion magazine editor and is consequently a lonely woman after a failed marriage. Miss Streep does not come off as bitchy or cruel. She comes off as indifferent and conservative. I don't really feel she did a good enough performance. When you have the two leads doing badly, you don't get a good film. The only real winner here is the story itself. Set in New York City's fashion scene, the film/book explores one young woman's entry into that world and her exit. Andy is the most unlikely person to get hired at a fashion magazine. She is highly individualistic and in the fashion scene, it's all about trends and following what's "in" and "hip". Andy dresses as she likes, irregardless of fashion trends. She is intelligent, urbane and has friends who are regular Joes (like her boyfriend Nate played by Adrian Grenier) and her transformation from anti-fashion gal to fashion gal is incredible. But this is not anything like Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Girl". Rather than glorifying fashion as that film does, this film presents that scene as just a business, and a tough one. When Andy discovers she has lost a boyfriend, friends and her own sense of self, she decides to quit working for Miranda. The chemistry between Streep and Hathaway could have been better. In the book, the relationship was almost like a mother/daughter type thing. I did love Simon Baker as Christian, another fashion industry guy, who charms Andy and even becomes her lover briefly. I felt that this sub-plot was too brief and could have been explored more. The music by Theodore Shapiro is lovely. The costumes (by Patricial Field) are well done but only because we know how photogenic both Hathaway and Streep are. But otherwise, the film lacks more of a tragic quality, and more character. Streep could have done better but it's possible the director, working with the author, opted to change her into a more sympathetic character we can understand and see her as fully human and less cartoonish. One wonders how different it would have been if they had cast Glenn Close (famous for over-the-top female characters) as Miranda. But I think that Hathaway would have had better chemistry with Close, considering Hathaway's own over-the-top teen characters. This film is not for everyone. Because it's a film about women, based on a woman's book, about women's fashion, this is not something most men would enjoy watching. There is very little for a man to enjoy (no nudity, no action) but this film still lacked more drama. We don't feel that Andy has learned and lost. I can only give it a 7 out of 10. Check out the film and see for yourself what all the buzz was once all about.
...Meryl Streep as Miranda and Anne Hathaway as Andy were excellent choices for the movie. However the movie took on a completely different message than the book did. I find that the book offered more moral dilemmas than the movie. The book took on more of a role of showing how difficult it is to enter the work world. I enjoyed the plot twist in the book about Lily - in the movie she didn't play an important role. In the book she adds to the moral dilemma that Andy faces while she is in Paris. In the book she is confronted with her best friend having a drinking problem that she didn't notice and then lily got into a car accident while she was in Paris. Giving Andy the difficult decision of whether or not she is going to stay in Paris or go back to see her friend while she was in a coma. This conflict gave way to a new issues with her boyfriend, who's name is Alex according to the book. I enjoyed the books twist more than the movies. The book and the movie are America's 'Bridget Jones'. If you just see the movie it will be a very good movie. If you've read the book you may be disappointed by the movie. Just keep in mind it is hard to take a book and make it into a 90 minute feature with out missing important facts.
...ne good thing a movie can always latch onto is when it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at a
world that most people don't really know much about but for which a lot of us have stereotypes or preconceived
notions. In this case, the world of high power fashion. This kind of thing especially works if it's
a world that most of us probably view negatively and I'm guessing most people reading this probably
think New York-Paris-Rome high fashion is silly, wasteful, pointless, and even insidious. (and not without
But the ending here...utterly predictable and very disappointing. I guess we're supposed to cheer that our heroine came to her senses and refound her soul and set back on her course to do Good Honest Work among Good Honest Regular Folks. Very safe, very bankable ending. I had been extremely impressed up until the last reel that this was becoming a film about making hard choices and *especially* about letting life unfold for you, despite your best planning, what might be your true authentic calling (or true self) even though it was politically incorrect according to your old peer group, and even though you resisted it and it put you out of your comfort zone at first.
...Instead of a fresh take on real character growth, a fresh take on a life's-journey sort of picture, we got the lowbrow, comforting failure ending: Oh it's okay, Andy, you can always come back to us, your real family. We's just simple folks, but we's sincere. This is the sort of ending that caters to people with sour grapes resentment toward, well, successful people.
...Andy says something like, gee, I left behind my original dream for...and the boyfriend finishes her sentence by saying "Shirts. Pants. Purses. Belts." Or something to that effect. In other words, Andy sold here soul for Mere Material Possessions
...Anne Hathaway works hard in the role of Andy...she's a clothes horse and the camera loves her, but something about her performance comes off as forced and affected. But what this film has above everything else, making it worthy of my 8-star rating is the extraordinary, 100-megawatt, dazzler of a starring performance by the amazing Meryl Streep, in the role of a lifetime as editor-in-chief/dragon lady Miranda Priestley. Never in all my years of filmgoing have I seen an actress so completely dominate a movie without ever raising her voice above a stage whisper...Streep is a one woman acting workshop as she effortlessly breathes life into this larger than life character without ever resorting to scenery chewing or any other cheap theatrics that could have creeped their way into this kind of characterization. Streep provides a master class in the art of underplay as she perfectly internalizes the power of Miranda, making every move and sound Miranda makes completely riveting. The fascinating combination of fear and respect Streep fuses into Miranda is the heart of this movie and what makes you not want to miss a minute of what's going on. She makes Miranda funny, terrifying, and tragic from one scene to another with seemingly little effort and just when you think the character is a totally heartless shrew, Streep rips your guts out in one brief scene where Miranda confesses to Andy that her husband wants a divorce. Streep creates one of the mostly richly complex and entertaining characters of her career which, no surprise, earned her an unprecedented 13th Oscar nomination. It is the performance of the divine Meryl Streep that transports THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA from fluffy to fabulous.
...but arguably the first thing that jumps out and grabs you is Emily Blunt as Streep's assistant Emily – the sole survivor. The first half of the 'Prada' is an assured success due to its fast-paced navigation of the fashion industry and its many colourful characters like Nigel and Emily; it sucks you in. Hathaway fully reprises 'Princess Diaries' here but it works.
..Another factor that mars Miranda's softer side is that this is a film and not a television series, unlike the hugely popular Ugly Betty, where the villainous Vanessa Williams cools down gradually as the show comes to a close. It would take more than a single scene to convince me that Miranda is really a suitable leader of Runway. Another alternative ending that would have suited the title was to have Andy resume her work with Miranda and becoming as dominating and hard-hearted as her (something similar to All about Eve).
...This film has some similarities with the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle, "View from the Top",
another film about a young woman who, after initial setbacks, achieves success in her job, but then
finds that she needs to choose between her job and her boyfriend. In both cases the message seems to
be that success in one's love life is more important than success in one's career. It is notable that
the bitchy Miranda takes quite the opposite view- she can alienate husbands just as easily as she alienates
members of her staff, and is currently going through her fifth divorce.
"The Devil Wears Prada" could easily have ended up as no more than a glossier version of "View from the Top", which is a fairly mediocre comedy. What saves it is some excellent acting. In the earlier film, Paltrow just seems to be going through the motions; in one interview she herself implied that she only took the part for the money. Whereas Paltrow's Donna was simply a go-getting career girl, Andrea is a more complex character, well acted by the lovely Anne Hathaway as a wide-eyed, innocent idealist who finds her idealism under threat from the subtle temptations placed in her way by a woman who has (metaphorically if not literally) sold her soul to the devil.
...Hathaway receives good support from Emily Blunt as the catty Emily and Stanley Tucci as Nigel, the magazine's kindly Art Director, one of Andrea's few colleagues to offer her support. (Despite Nigel's obvious effeminacy, it is never made clear whether he is actually gay- a surprising stance given Hollywood's normal liberalism on this subject). The real star, however, is Meryl Streep. I have never been an adherent of that school of thought which holds that Meryl cannot do comedy, as I liked her in "Death Becomes Her" and even "She-Devil", a film for which few critics had kind words, even if it did bring her a Golden Globe nomination. "The Devil Wears Prada", however, provides her with her best comedy role. The monstrous Miranda Priestly- silver-haired, immaculately dressed, snobbish, supercilious and icily self-possessed- is a magnificent comic creation. Her surname suggests that she is a sort of high priestess of the fashion industry, and she revels in her power, knowing that an unfavourable mention in her magazine can destroy the career of a designer. She always speaks softly, never raising her voice, because she knows that she can inspire fear with just a whisper. Streep's performance brought her a record 14th Oscar nomination, although she lost yet again, this time to Helen Mirren for "The Queen".
...Art Director Nigel (Stanley Tucci) gives an excellent performance, mentoring the ingénue, without
ever losing his satiric edge or giving in to the saccharin. Upon first seeing her he dashes off the
following withering remark: Nigel: Who is that *sad* little person? Are we doing a before-and-after
piece I don't know about? When she turns to him, after a particularly cruel session of torture from
Miranda, instead of sympathy he tells her bluntly that she disrespects the Art of Fashion, the role
of the magazine, and the impact of Miranda upon that Art.
Nigel: Other girls dream of working here. You merely deign.
Later, after seeing that Andy is smart and capable, and trying to meet the challenges of her job, he gives her a pair of Jimmy Chu high heels. She tells him they are not for her, but soon after when Miranda glares at her sensible shoes, she puts them on Tout de Suite. This is a turning point for her character, who finally gets in the game, embracing the world of fashion, and dances with the devil. Andy is now known as Andrea, and she finally gets some good barbs of her own, such as when sexy writer Christian Thompson (Simon Baker, currently starring in The Mentalist as Patrick Jane) attempts to seduce her in Paris: Christian Thompson: Je suis très, très désolé. Andy Sachs: You're not that désolé at all.
Director David Frankel (who was also responsible for Sex in the City) exhibits the same witty dialogue--the same heady mixture of comedy and drama, or dramedy and comma--that will keep you entertained right up to the final dénouement. Pour yourself a Peach Cosmo and watch this with your own Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte.
...Even something like "great expectations" with ethan hawke and gweneth paltrow that could very easily be comparable to this, had a certain amount of dynamics to it, and i really enjoyed that film. The acting was okay i suppose, and streeps character was stereotypical to that type of lifestyle that was being portrayed. but considering that i don't know anyone near that income level i can't really say for certain. half the time she acted as if she had swallowed vallium or prozac before each take. Now perhaps that was the point, and if it was then she played the part well. however the overall boredom and lack of any type of fluctuation in her character simply put me to sleep. I get the idea that the moral of the story is to make one think how far would they go to further their career. what type of sacrifice would have to be made and all, but there are certainly better movies that portray this message, again with the aforementioned "great expectations".
...The treatment of Nate, the boyfriend, was inconsistent and we wonder why Andi stays with him when he's so unsupportive, whiny and generally unsympathetic. Andi slept with another man in Paris, after she and Nate broke up and that little plot thread is simply dropped. Also, when they make up after she quits she appears to agree to move to Boston to be with him, yet a minute later she accepts a job at a New York based magazine.
...The extreme makeover scenes were done better by Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine in Miss Congeniality. The metamorphosis was much more dramatic. (Of course, this is one of the clichés.)
...The leading lady is really Anne Hathaway, who is the subject of corruption by the fashion industry. The storyline of the film is rather simple. Anne Hathaway's character is a very smart, mildly attractive, and ambitious girl who aspires to be a great reporter. She eventually decides to interview for an internship under Miranda Priestly (Streep), and of course gets the job. Working beside Emily Blunt's and Stanley Tucci's characters, she finds herself becoming entwined in the fashion industry, wearing more "stylish" clothing and attending high-class parties and such. From here, a "Mean Girls" type drama plays out, turning the film on to a much more serious route. The problem is, we've seen it all before. With such a typical and obvious plot, you need a really great cast to pull it off.
...There is a genuine moral to this tale, probably not the one the makers intended: when you leave
university and find not everyone is clamouring for your services, learn a little humility. And whatever
you're doing, care - even if it's flipping burgers. But I expect idealism wins in this film - I didn't
make it to the end. If you work at a magazine, it is too painfully like real life. A few random comments:
I suppose Anne Hathaway was wearing a padded bra before the makeover. One day, though, can we have a
film about an ugly duckling who becomes a swan where the duckling really is a bit more ugly than the
luminously beautiful Miss Hathaway? Couldn't she have looked a bit more like a candidate from What Not
to Wear? And finally, of course the villain has to have an English accent!
Amazon.comDL MinorNo Issues With The Killer Title, But..., March 19, 2010
Well, I'm all over the map about this movie, I really am, finding something to agree with in almost every review here, including the least positive.
The positives are these: I adore the look and pace of the film, the to-die-for clothes of course, and the performances (first and foremost) of the great Meryl Streep as the towering, terrifying Miranda, the winning Anne Hathaway as the perpetually harassed Andrea, the dependable Stanley Tucci as Miranda's long-suffering, witty-wise second-in-command Nigel, and the wonderful Emily Blunt as the bitchy, put-upon first assistant...uh, Emily. All of them--especially Streep, Tucci and Blunt--bring both bite and (mostly hidden) heart to what could have been a collective phone-in of annoying caricatures. And though we really only get glimpses of him here and there, I also enjoyed Rich Sommers's endearing turn as Doug, the sweetest of Andy's circle.
I am seriously ambivalent however, about what the message of this movie is supposed to be, especially to women, and the alarm bells really go off when--SPOILER ALERT -- Andy reconciles with her boyfriend, Nate, telling him he was "right about everything."
What? What exactly was he so "right" about??
I don't know about you, but I found Nate, the boyfriend character, absolutely insufferable through almost the whole of the movie. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the voice of reason that tries hard to keep Andy grounded and remind her what's truly important. Instead he came off as a sulky brat who could not accept his girlfriend's growing pains as she struggled to cope with an impossibly demanding, first ever grown-up job that nothing in her easy-going schoolgirl existence had prepared her for. Were there no demands being placed on Nate in HIS choice of career? Was his job supposed to be the more important one?
Ditto Andy's best friend, Lily, who seemed to me increasingly more jealous of Andy rather than supportive of her. Lily too was pursuing Bright Lights-Big City dreams that demanded a lot from a young newcomer, after all, so how is it that she had such a hard time with Andrea's chaotic ups and downs? Where did Lily get off being so judgmental and disapproving? This is friendship? I watch these performances and can't decide whether actors Adrian Grenier and Tracie Thoms made poor choices in their playing of difficult characters or if the characters as written were simply impossible to like. Either way, both were a whiny pain in the rear, especially Nate, and Andy's mea culpas to him near the film's conclusion were tough to take.
No one disputes that Miranda Priestley was a Boss From Hell who routinely wiped her feet on her young assistants, particularly Andrea. But we also see that ultimately Miranda was as human as anyone else; a glamorous workhorse whose alley-fighter smarts hid real pain.
And it should be said that Andy--who was in the beginning quite smug in her disdain of all the fashionista "shallowness" that surrounded her -- had a knocking down or two coming. (I loved the way Nigel simultaneously comforted Andy and took her to task after an especially bad morning.)
If Miranda put Andy through the wringer -- and she did -- well, she also taught her some important things (sometimes unwittingly) about hard work, hanging tough, and the choices we make in life to get to where we want to go or need to stay. Andy could have quit at the end of her first week (I think I would have) but no matter how bad or insanely silly things got, she didn't, at least not immediately. On some level she became aware that she was getting an education she wouldn't get anywhere else from anyone else, and there was value in that. I think she knew that; I hope she knew that. I hope the audience does, too.
I had the exact response to this movie. I loved the acting and I loved Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in the movie. I just did not love the message this gives to women. The funny part is I loved this movie the first time I watched it, but this time around I watched with my two bright, intelligent, and full of potential teenage girls and i wondered what the impact of this hidden message had on them.
I agree 100% about the pouting boyfriend. Give working women a break already; we have a lot to deal with! Good review, thanks.
I agree as well...I didn't like how Andy's friends (Nate, Lily) were so disapproving.
When you get job opportunities like that...you have to make them work and sacrifice is required at times. Now of if the changes to Andy's life were detrimental or had her engaging in questionable activities, maybe then I'd understand their concern...but it just seems like in the end they didn't want her to change (and she didn't in the important ways)...but people do sometimes...it wasn't like they were blue-collar workers (Nate, Lily).
Great movie though! One of my favs of all-time!
Thanks for writing the best review of this movie. You hit it out of the park, specifically the relationship between Nate and Andrea. Nate (and her other friends, save Doug) are unsupportive, bratty, jealous, and nasty.
What is the message? She was young enough that the few more years (at most) she would've devoted to the job might have cost her "friends," but so what?
She would most likely have had a chance to start getting her writing published and gone on to the dream job she wanted in the beginning.
The truth is summed up by Miranda near the end; you have to make choices in life. She threw away a chance to get exactly what she wanted in order to slide back down the ladder and start at the bottom again. Worse yet, as you stated, she apologized for it. What a terrible message.
I don't think it has to be an either/or situation in which a person chooses either her job or her friends. Plenty of people keep their friends and move ahead in their careers. The film is showing us how Miranda made the choice of career over her humanity and what it cost her and this promotes Andy to re-group and get back to what is important to her. I don't think it's accurate to say that she slid back down the ladder and started at the bottom again. Remember that she never wanted to work in the fashion industry. She's a journalist and her new job gives her the ability to do that.
Had Andrea kept doing a great job, Miranda would likely have offered her a chance to do some writing (there is a scene where Andrea talks up the journalistic pieces in Runway). This would've given her a huge leg up towards her goal of writing for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, etc. (as she also mentioned in the movie). Working for some little indie NYC newspaper was a demotion. Sure, she was writing, but the salary and advantages she had working for Miranda were thrown away.
As for the friends, no doubt - one can keep friends and pursue dreams, provided those friends are supportive and not jealous or childish.
Narcoleptic Nelly, December 8, 2009
Zero redeeming qualities.
I continue to be baffled by the positive attention that this movie has gotten. As a college-aged girl with friends who are all obsessed with this movie, I agreed to see it at some point, and then immediately lost respect for half of my friends.
What is this movie about? An unintelligent, inarticulate, doormat who we're supposed to like for some reason who learns absolutely nothing. She goes to work for some fancy magazine even though she seems totally incompetent, she starts being all shallow, then realizes she shouldn't be shallow. But at least she dropped from a size 6 to a size 4 and kept those cute boots!! Seriously, what is that?
In the end, I have no idea if this movie is trying to justify the existence of the fashion industry or else criticize it. Sure, the main character eventually leaves her job... but her awful experiences and her awful choices (for instance, sleeping with some really greasy dude while she's out of town... this is, apparently, not an issue at all) don't have any real negative ramifications. She gets a great reference or something, moves on, but it's considered a positive step that she is, now, considered conventionally attractive. EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS ATTRACTIVE THE WHOLE TIME. Characters consistently make fun of her for being a "fat" size 6, and then at the end, with a satisfied smirk, says she's dropped to a size four. And this is the enlightened, I-have-figured-out-my-priorites part of the movie. I have no idea why we're supposed to like the main character. I have no idea why people think that a movie which potrays a protagonist who is so vapid and unlikeable, which views anorexia sympathetically (of all things), which really does seem to value looks over anything else, is a good movie. It's not even funny. There are NO jokes. People talk a lot and then don't say anything. This movie has no depth, no substance, and no message. If anything, it is that being really really good looking really IS important. Even if you're (supposedly) smart and stuff, you could still lose some weight, fatty!
This is one of the few movies that has actually been bad enough to make me angry. Aside from the obvious comment that Meryl Streep's performance was pretty fantastic, this movie has absolutely no redeeming qualities. There is no reason to watch it.
Bynacuta, June 25, 2014
Hypocritical excuse for a story
The movie prides itself in pointing out the extensive self-absorbed shallowness of the fashion industry. Yet the powerful heroine sells herself to the same industry, shucking family, friends, and romance along the way, so she can strut towards the camera in the closing scene, proud of her...
what?...Wasted time? Still empty career? But wait! She dresses well now! What an amazing display of modern feminist ideals!
Joe Mamaon December 31, 2007
Although potentially well acted and with the potential to have a good message there are major problems with this movie. Firstly, was it necessary for the main character to compromise not only her integrity but her base moral ideals to become successful? She did it. She turned her back on all that she once believed and became all that she was expected to by the fashion world.
She gloats about her losing weight to fit into smaller sizes when she was beautiful the way she was. This sends a horrible message to the young girls of the world. Anne Hathaway in this movie turns from a well educated well grounded woman to a fashion obsessed, weight obsessed, success obsessed woman. She sleeps with a man in a terrible "one night stand" and turns her back on her boyfriend and close friends.
And for all of this she is taken back in the end. He should have told her to get away and enjoy the new life she has created for herself. She gave up who she was to become some one else and only succeeded in making herself ugly.
TawnTawnon, July 2, 2006
Almost as Bad as the Book
Andrea has just graduated from college and opens up her day planner to realize she has an appointment for an interview with Runway Magazine. She somehow gets hired despite being totally inappropriate for the job of Editor-in-Chief Miranda's Priestly's second assistant. She's required to get coffee, hang up Miranda's coat, and many other personal details which have nothing to do with the magazine, but make Miranda's personal life easier.
Although based on the book, the film tries to show Miranda being vulnerable and not a complete bitch every second of the day as in the book, she was. A few things have been changed or added: Andie now lives with her boyfriend, who's a chef instead of a schoolteacher of nine-year old first graders (check with the author of the book on that one), and her best friend is an artist instead of a drunken loser. There's also a male character (Stanley Tucci) who's been working under Miranda for 18 years who tries to buck Andie up when she whines at how Miranda never appreciates her.
Other things stick: Andie thinks that after one year as Miranda's assistant (and so she is told in the book) that she automatically becomes a writer for any magazine she chooses (and if she can't write for a magazine, it doesn't matter because she'll write a tell-all badly written, boring book).
This film is shallow, depressing, and goes nowhere - just like the book. The ending is changed to try to give the story some redeeming value, but it fails.
The acting isn't bad (even Gisele Bundchen is credible in a small part), but with the lame story the actors had to work with, it's a waste of Meryl Streep. And she's the only reason anyone would see this superficial movie.
Damian Gunn on October 10, 2006
One of the years best (but it's not all about Meryl my friends)...
My wife and I, huge fans of `America's Next Top Model' and `Project Runway', were very excited about seeing this film. Why it took us this long still baffles me, but as of Friday night we had the pleasure of seeing `The Devil Wears Prada' and let me just say that it was quite the pleasure. Now, most if not all the praise has been heaped on the shoulders of Meryl Streep, and while she was outstanding, this film is more than just a Meryl painted canvas. There are four brilliant performances in this film and they all are deserving of praise.
First is Anne Hathaway who plays Andrea Sachs, a young aspiring journalist who takes a job working as Miranda Priestly assistant at `Runway Magazine'. Anne Hathaway proves with her performance that she's all grown up. No, that's not to take away from her more adult roles in more adult films like `Havoc' and the masterpiece `Brokeback Mountain', but here Anne proves that she can do adult comedy, not falling back into her teen goofiness that made her famous in `The Princess Diaries' but keeping everything smart and mature. She has enough poise and grace to match wits with Miranda, and she does so elegantly.
Next up is Emily Blunt who plays Emily, Miranda's first assistant (there are two, Andrea being the second). Emily has worked her butt off to get to where she is, slaving for the unruly Priestly and it's all about to pay off with a trip alongside Miranda to Paris. The only thing standing in her way is Andrea, for if Andrea fails miserably then it reflects poorly on Emily. Emily Blunt turns out I think the best performance of the bunch for she has enough sass, enough attitude and enough wit to make her pop out from the screen and stand out no matter who is sharing the screen with her.
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