The Devil Wears Prada - Review
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with Director David Frankel, Producer Wendy Finerman, Costume Designer Patricia Field, Screenwriter Aline Brosh-McKenna, Editor Mark Livolsi and Director of Photography Florian Ballhaus; Deleted scenes x 15; ‘The trip to the big screen’ featurette; ‘Fashion Visionary: Patricia Field’ featurette; ‘Getting Valentino’ featurette ; ‘Boss from hell’ featurette; ‘NYC & Fashion’ featurette; ‘International Fashion Editor’ featurette; Gag reel; Theatrical trailer; Theatrical Trailer.
IT MAY ultimately be as slight as many of the fashion trends it depicts but The Devil Wears Prada is equally as eye-catching at times thanks to another masterly performance from Meryl Streep.
Based on the book by Lauren Weisberger, which spent six months on the New York Times bestseller list, the film is essentially a rags-to-riches tale that’s been done countless times by Hollywood – but seldom done as well.
It’s glossy, chic and effortlessly stylish and even though it’s as empty as a super-model’s plate in terms of what it has to say, it genuinely does entertain.
Streep plays Miranda Priestly, the most powerful woman in fashion, who has single-handedly turned her Runway magazine into the fashion bible of New York by refusing to let anyone, or anything, stand in her way – including a long line of assistants that didn’t make the cut.
Into this world steps recent college graduate and would-be journalist Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a determined young woman with a terrible fashion sense and little appreciation for either Runway‘s standing or Priestly’s reputation.
Although she is completely wrong for the job, Andy is hired and then finds her life dedicated to pleasing her editor’s every whim and command (whether it’s ordering the new, as-yet unprinted Harry Potter for her spoilt children, or getting a plane out of Miami in the middle of a hurricane).
But while Andy gradually begins to impress her boss, career success comes at the expense of her friends and love life, so much so that her boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) begins to lose patience.
It’s not long, therefore, before Andy has to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of Miranda or get back to what she used to hold dear.
There’ll be no prizes for guessing the outcome of this tale but there’s plenty of fun to be had in arriving at the conclusion.
Director David (Sex & The City) Frankel displays a keen eye for glitzy fashion and an equally sharp ear for bitchy office politics. Hence, women will revel in the numerous fashions and accessories presented before them, while chuckling along at the various sarcastic asides that are tossed around like confetti.
At the centre of it all stands Streep’s supremely icy Miranda, a cold, calculated career-woman who more than does justice to her mighty reputation.
Streep has done comedy before but she’s clearly having fun as the villain of the piece – gleefully making the lives of her assistants’ hell yet somehow still managing to hint at some humanity and regret behind the beast.
Her sense of timing is superb and while she could have played things hysterically OTT, she opts instead for a low-key approach, using a look or a dismissive wave of the hand to get her point across. It is a masterful performance that elevates the movie to a higher playing field.
Hathaway, too, holds her own against Streep even though her character is much less interesting and far more predictable. And the likes of Stanley Tucci, as Miranda’s right-hand man, and Emily Blunt, as her chief assistant, also inject plenty of humour and charisma into what could have become thankless supporting roles.
The most impressive thing about the film, however, is the way in which it is capable of seducing both men and women who’ll doubtless enjoy watching the divas and cattiness on show.
The Devil Wears Prada is, at the end of the day, a Cinderella tale that benefits immensely from the sort of lavish window dressing that only Hollywood can supply.
Running time: 110 mins