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Pinned on April 22, 2015 at 1:54 pm by HandbagDiva
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.
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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.
Stanley Tucci also does wonderfully here as Nigel, Miranda’s second in command. He is there to make sure everything is perfect, and also help Andrea adjust. Stanley always has done great backup work, playing second hand man to just about everyone, but here he really makes his performance his own and owns it. He delivers some of the funniest lines in the film but he never feels like the `token gay guy’…he’s needed in this film, not filler, and he commands his scenes and really stands out amidst the crowd.
And then, of course, we have Meryl Streep who plays the ruthless tyrant known as Miranda Priestly. What I was most impressed about was the way Meryl underplays every word, every emotion, every scene, which is not what I expected. I really expected her to go all Glen Close and reincarnate Cruella but she didn’t (thankfully) and instead turned out one of the most inspired performances of the year. She must have had fun playing the snooty self absorbed and above all selfish editor-in-chief of `Runway’. She lets us see inside her character briefly (when crying over another failed marriage) but her character is more about shutting off feeling in order to succeed and so we don’t get to see the real Miranda because we’re not supposed to.
Carried by these four brilliant performances `The Devil Wears Prada’ is a fabulous film that will make you laugh and make you smile and will impress almost anyone. The script is brilliantly adapted from Lauren Weisberger’s novel, and while it’s not an exact replica (are any adaptations these days?) it carries the same wit but smoothes things out to make it more approachable and, in my eyes, more enjoyable. Bravo!