Stephen Speicher

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Rate this movie   15 votes

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18 posts in this topic

I was utterly bored by this movie. The setup: smart college grad can't get a job as a journalist for a mag she respects, so gets one working for a fashion mag, only to find she's miserable, and oh yeah, her boss is mean.

There are some cute, funny bits, but I had no respect for her character, and I didn't care what happened to her. Is there a lesson at the end, where people learn something valuable? I think they meant there to be one, but I couldn't tell what it was supposed to be.

Also, this "story" is mainly a one-note sour-grapes whine fest. It could be subtitled "101 Ways My First Job Sucked."

On the plus side, Meryl Streep is terrific.

My score: 4. I recommend a pass on this one. Even if the DVD was given away for free.

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Contrary to Ed, I liked the movie and I recommend it to the board members. I give it a 7. I think it is a rather funny and moderatly uplifting movie, with some amazing performance by Meryl Streep.

Ed's basic outline of the story is correct, but I didn't find the tone whinny at all - in fact, that was a very good surprise, as the reviews sounded like the theme was "the boss from hell". The movie is much more about a young professional maturing and gaining a level of respect for both the world of fashion and her boss (who is indeed a complete jerk).

In my opinion, the main character shows great spirit in refusing to quit, even when treated unfairly. Little by little, she earns a measure of respect from her boss, even though she finally decide that all the work she's investing in the job is not getting her any closer to her goals.

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I agree with Joss about this movie but will add that the ending lacked in my view. After all of her hard work she gets to the top only to realize that there's a dichotomy in the world of "be a horrible person at the top or a good person at the bottom." She chooses to "be a good person at the bottom." I would have liked to see her not choose a dichotomy, and instead choose the rational ground of good person at the top.

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I agree with Joss about this movie but will add that the ending lacked in my view. After all of her hard work she gets to the top only to realize that there's a dichotomy in the world of "be a horrible person at the top or a good person at the bottom." She chooses to "be a good person at the bottom." I would have liked to see her not choose a dichotomy, and instead choose the rational ground of good person at the top.

She doesn't end up at the bottom. She ends up with her dream job as a journalist in some (presumably) major newspaper, recommended by her ex-boss. This is success, not failure.

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If anything, she graduates from personal toy to journalist.

I loved the sequence of her walking to work soon after she decided to start dressing up. Every time the camera lost her for a moment (behind a crowd or a truck, for example) she'd have a different outfit on.

What I didn't appreciate was how unsupportive her friends and boyfriend were.

JohnRGT

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

She doesn't end up at the bottom. She ends up with her dream job as a journalist in some (presumably) major newspaper, recommended by her ex-boss. This is success, not failure.

Yes, she gets her job at a newspaper, which she claims is her goal throughout the movie. But, just to add some context to that, one of her best pieces in her college portfolio is a story about the struggle of some union. And when she's interviewed by her future boss, he mentions the piece as the type of work that they do at that newspaper.

I think that the happy ending of this movie is not her achieving her goal to become a journalist, but her deciding to choose friends & family, love, and self-respect over success, popularity, and money. That's why I think this was a bad movie.

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I think that the happy ending of this movie is not her achieving her goal to become a journalist, but her deciding to choose friends & family, love, and self-respect over success, popularity, and money. That's why I think this was a bad movie.

While I don't think it was a bad movie at all (the production was quite stylish and the acting above average), I do agree that it was ultimately anti-business.

I thought Meryl Streep was quite sexy in this movie - I'd never found her sexy in the past. Unfortunately, she's supposed to be the Devil who wears Prada. It just goes to show how deep-seated the premise "business is sexy is evil" is in some people's minds.

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I think that the happy ending of this movie is not her achieving her goal to become a journalist, but her deciding to choose friends & family, love, and self-respect over success, popularity, and money. That's why I think this was a bad movie.

Could you elaborate on the success she sacrificed by becoming a journalist and choosing self-respect?

JohnRGT

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

Could you elaborate on the success she sacrificed by becoming a journalist and choosing self-respect?

JohnRGT

Sure. At a point in the movie, the main character (Andy, had to look it up on imdb.) decides to stop complaining about her demanding boss and just do the the job the best she can. The result of that decision is that she excels at her job, and the demanding boss soon begins to respect and depend on her, even more than the other assistant had years more experience. So much more that when it gets close to the big Europe fashion show, the boss decides to leave the more-experienced assistant home in favor of Andy.

The boss gives Andy the task of telling the assistant that she wasn't going to Europe. That puts Andy in a big moral dilemma, because she knows the assistant wanted to go on that trip for a long time. She decides to go, even though she believes that she's going at the expense of her assistant and friend. Of course, I don't think it's at the expense of her friend, but I believe that's how the movie portrays her decision, and that choice eats at her throughout the movie.

In Europe, her boss double-crosses one of her most-valued and nice employees, and Andy is shocked that she would do that. While traveling to a big fashion event in the back of a limo, Andy confronts her boss. Without getting into the details, her boss basically says that double-crosses like the one she are necessary to be successful like her. Andy says no, but then her boss brings up how Andy's decision to go to Europe over her assistant. The limo stops at the event, and the boss gets out of the limo to walk through the crowd of fans and paparazzi. Here's where Andy is presented with the choice of success or self-respect. She can walk out of one limo door to hundreds of people wanting to be like her but she has to lie and cheat, or the other limo door where she's on her own but she can live with herself. She chooses the latter, choosing her self-respect over success.

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Here's where Andy is presented with the choice of success or self-respect. She can walk out of one limo door to hundreds of people wanting to be like her but she has to lie and cheat, or the other limo door where she's on her own but she can live with herself. She chooses the latter, choosing her self-respect over success.

I remember the movie exactly as you outline it in the above quote. I just don't understand why you think that her opting for self-respect is a bad thing.

Are you saying that the movie wasn't good because it forced such a choice on Andy?

JohnRGT

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She doesn't end up at the bottom. She ends up with her dream job as a journalist in some (presumably) major newspaper, recommended by her ex-boss. This is success, not failure.

Warning: There are spoilers about the movie in this post.

I wasn't trying to give the impression that she somehow "fails" at her own values. Within her value system, I agree that she moves up. What I didn't like about the movie was the implied judgement of "those at the top." When she quits and moves to the reporter job, it seems that she does so after becomming disgusted by being at the top. She could have stayed and probably become "The Devil's" apprentice. We could have seen her say "I want to be here, but not like her... I want to be a nice person as well as in this top position." Instead, she seemingly thinks that to be in that kind of position, one must give up all hope of acheiving the other values she wants like a fullfilling relationship (deomnstrated by The Devil's marriage falling apart, as well as her own romantic trouble), or helping out your firends (The Devil must screw over her friend in order to keep her position in the company), etc.

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I think that the happy ending of this movie is not her achieving her goal to become a journalist, but her deciding to choose friends & family, love, and self-respect over success, popularity, and money. That's why I think this was a bad movie.

Yes, eaxctly! I loved watching her struggle and overcome the obstacles to be a successful woman. However, there was an over tone of a dichotomy that one must either choose happiness, friends, family, etc. as a "lowly journalist," or success, money, popularity as a top executive.

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I remember the movie exactly as you outline it in the above quote. I just don't understand why you think that her opting for self-respect is a bad thing.

Are you saying that the movie wasn't good because it forced such a choice on Andy?

JohnRGT

Her opting for self respect isn't a bad thing. What's bad is that the movie portrays that there is a choice between success and self respect.

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Her opting for self respect isn't a bad thing. What's bad is that the movie portrays that there is a choice between success and self respect.

That's it :)

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Her opting for self respect isn't a bad thing. What's bad is that the movie portrays that there is a choice between success and self respect.

It's telling that in order to make it seem that one has to make such a choice, the movie makers had a brat as the head of a huge concern; that concern was a major player in an industry with a reputation for breeding people like Miranda; Emily (the first assistant) had a total collapse; Miranda threatened Andy with not only firing her if she didn't take over Emily's responsibilities in Paris, but promised to make trouble for her at any magazine she may apply to for a job; the owner of the magazine didn't realize that Miranda was, by far, the most qualified person to run Runway; etc.

They should've made this story into a musical.

"That's all..."

JohnRGT

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I finally had a chance to see "The Devil Wears Prada" this past week and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's possible this may be a result of my having "projected" Objectivist views onto the thing; however, at the conclusion of the film, I had the distinct impression that whatever the filmmakers' intentions, their portrayal or, rather, Meryl Streep's marvelous portrayal of Miranda Priestley (the Devil in question?) was not only the central focus of the film but was also a positive one.

In my view, as demanding as she is (and I'll take up whether she is unreasonably so in a moment), Miranda comes across mostly as an extraordinarily powerful and capable woman deserving of respect for her faultless taste, her encyclopaedic knowledge of the fashion industry and everthing and everyone in it, her unparalleled ability at running Runway Magazine, and her ability to do it all with uncommon elan without regard to her not-so-successfulf, quite peripheral, personal life (it is only in terms of her personal relationships that Miranda "loses her cool" . . . and then only for the briefest of moments, although the Hurricane incident takes some getting over). She lives and works HER life, and nobody else's.

One of my favorite sequences in the film occurs early in the relationship between the ostensible central character Andrea and Miranda. This is Miranda's "This Stuff?!" monologue in which Streep, in a delivery perfectly calibrated to the cadence and rhythm of the language, essentializes the entire process of production (a process that made the sweater Andrea is wearing possible). In my view, this brief speech is worth the price of admission (or rental).

Another one of my favorites sequences occurs a few scenes later when the implications of Miranda's speech are brought even more explicitly to the personal level by her "right-hand man", Nigel (the wonderful Stanley Tucci), who lets Andrea know that in merely "deigning" to work at Runway whining all the way, she berates not only the numerous people who work in the fashion industry generally, but also those who, like Andrea herself, depend upon those people whether they realize it or not. She is taking neither her work nor herself seriously irrespective of whatever she happens to think at that moment in time. Nigel reminds her that THIS is what Miranda doesn't "appreciate".

It is at this point that Andrea's character comes to life, and through a series of challenges and events (from "dressing for success", to obtaining and efficiently distributing a Harry Potter galley, to handling the Paris trip), she comes to own the effective and capable person she is. As for Miranda's supposed unreasonableness . . . Andrea makes the seemingly unreasonable reasonable after all -- not only is she able to do it all, but she comes to do it better than anyone else.

Ultimately, however, the fashion industry is not what Andrea wants. When, during the Paris trip, she chooses to leave Miranda and Runway to pursue her true interest in journalism, the new-found knowledge of her own effectiveness is what she takes with her . . . that and the fact that while her true interests and "style" signficantly differ from Miranda's, effectiveness is indeed something they have in common. In a brief but significant moment at the very end of the film, Andrea pays a final tribute to Miranda when she bows her head to her in greeting, a tribute and greeting Miranda recognizes with a smile to herself. I say this is significant precisely because, although done almost in "throw-away" fashion, it IS the very last image we have of the interaction between these two characters, an interaction that has served as the fuel for the entire film. Miranda's reaction at this point indicates to me that the feeling is mutual.

As for the suggestion that Andrea is somehow "sacrificing" at the end of the film, I do not agree: journalism is what she really wants to do. She simply chooses finally to do it. Nor does she "chuck it all" when her boyfriend reappears and informs her of his new position in Boston. To his credit, he doesn't demand it of her -- this is a kind of tribute to her. "We'll work something out" is all they need to say.

Unfortunately it is this latter tribute the filmmakers chose to set up as a highlight. Of course, I would have preferred it had they given equal weight , explicitly, to the exchange between Andrea and Miranda at the end of the film. But . . . that exchange DOES most definitely occur, as does the growing respect between these two capable women throughout the film.

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Contrary to Ed, I liked the movie and I recommend it to the board members. I give it a 7. I think it is a rather funny and moderatly uplifting movie, with some amazing performance by Meryl Streep.

All of Streep's performances are amazing. She is one of the greatest actors on the contemporary scene and they will be talking about her skill long after she is gone. For example, her performance in -Sophie's Choice- is magnificent. She and the English actor Helen Mirrin are in a class by themselves.

Bob Kolker

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