I’m back in sunny old England after my recent trip to a much warmer, albeit irritatingly happy country. With half term causing a spurt of kiddie-friendly films, the choice this week was limited, hence my foray into non-gritty territory.
So, The Devil Wears Prada, based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger, is set in the world of high fashion magazines. To be honest my interest in fashion goes as far as… actually, no. It stops right about there. The film isn’t totally fashion obsessed though. It centres on Andy, a journalism graduate who struggles to find work and ends up as a PA for an unreasonable tyrant. God, it’s like someone’s made a film of my life. A big hello to my work colleagues if any of you are reading this – you know I of course don’t think of you as tyrants.
Anyway, Andy ends up working for Miranda Priestly, the viciously blunt editor of ‘Runway’ magazine. Andy must battle through a series of outlandish tasks (like picking up dry cleaning) all the while learning about fashion, and herself. It’s gripping stuff. She, like, totally starts to wear nice coats and boots, and like, totally gains respect from her peers but loses it from her dumpy friends. Yeah, ok, it’s easy to mock. And maybe there are some slightly deeper issues at stake, like how far you can push your own integrity and how successful women are often depicted as bitch-monsters from hell. Plus there’s some neat acting. Anne Hathaway grows up and is a likeable if not a little unremarkable lead, especially compared to Meryl Streep, who nails the icey indifference perfectly, and shines in the one vulnerable scene where she’s sans make up and, er, sans husband. Although it’s a bit crap that a woman as successful as her is a weakling when it comes to losing a relationship. Boo hoo. She could probably buy herself a husband, maybe a whole selection of them. One for every occasion. I seem to be deviating from the review. That’s a bad sign.
If I were to go back to the mocking, I’d maybe pick up on her token friends (one from every race plus a gay guy to boot), the in your face this-is-a-sad-moment soundtrack (most of the songs would probably feature on some sort of ‘girl power – the soundtrack to your life’ compilation) or that it deviates from criticising the various aspects of the fashion industry (the ludicrous diets of stick thin fashionites) to seemingly praising it (Andy celebrates because she drops to a size 4).
It’s not like I hated the film. It was gently amusing. But it’s like going to a restaurant and ordering a salad. There are bits of taste amongst the blandness, but overall you’re left dissatisfied and wishing you’d picked something better off the menu. Glancing at the current releases I spy the ludicrously good Children of Men and The Departed still out, and if you’re only going to pick one thing I’d go for something substantial rather than the salad. Though some people do like salad I guess. Weird people. Anyway, I can’t really recommend this film, so it drops a point, making CF-1.