Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada isn't the sort of film I'd normally see, inasmuch as it's a female-oriented comedy-drama about fashion. The reason I did is largely because of the trailer.

Where most movies of this sort attempt to sell themselves as "oddball heartwarmers" with trailers composed of snippets of clever dialogue and goofy situations, The Devil Wears Prada took a different path. Its trailer comprised the entire first scene of the movie. I was so impressed by the honesty and respect for the audience shown by the trailer that I decided on the spot that I had to see the movie.

I'm glad I did. Anne Hathaway plays a talented but allegedly unglamorous student journalist looking to find work with a major news publication. To this end, she takes a job as an assistant to a venomous fashion editor (played by Meryl Streep) for the resume benefits the position will bring. She soon finds herself making unpleasant decisions and life changes, which eventually force her to choose between her personal life and her career.

It's a story that's been done to death, but The Devil Wears Prada executes it professionally and entertainingly. Once you swallow the film's initial assertion that it's possible for Anne Hathaway to look un-glamorous or overweight in any costume whatsoever, the film is well written, excellently performed, and never insults your intelligence.

Meryl Streep steals the show as the uncompromising Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of the fictitious Runway magazine, who a friend assures me is modeled on real life Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Yet despite the over-the-top nature of Streep's character, the film resolutely avoids making use of either caricature or stereotype. It also is reluctant to relinquish the narrative to Streep, and stays clearly focused on Hathaway's character.

Hathaway delivers a comptent performance, but will be mostly remembered for looking gorgeous in a ridiculously large selection of designer outfits and hairstyles. Stanley Tucci supports ably as the catty but lovable Nigel. I'm also told that there's a large number of cameos from fashion industry personalities, if you're able to appreciate that sort of thing.

The Devil Wears Prada manages to transcend its marketing as a "chick flick" and become simply quality entertainment for any audience. I'm happy to recommend it to anyone.

3 comments:

Jey said...

I haven't seen the film but I don't feel it does market as a 'chick flick'. More a 'chic flick'.
Superficially it does appear to market as a 'chick flick' but I think it's more comedy.
Not of the low brow American variety most films are though.
I plan to hire it once it is released on dvd.

GregT said...

It's about fashion and the only male roles are a gay guy and two cardboard-cutout love interests. It's totally a chick flick.

But that doesn't stop it also being good entertainment for the rest of the world.

Chris said...

I wish my wife and I had gone to see this instead of Click the other week. :(

Incidentally, the UK trailer was a typical "let's show you the whole film" affair, so you got lucky if you were treated to a trailer that was something else.

Modern trailers annoy the hell out of me. Doesn't anyone know how to build anticipation any more? They just seem to rely on short term memory loss to take away the fact that they show you more or less the whole story in the trailer. *sigh*