03 October 2016

The Devil Wears Prada (starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway)

Although I’ve seen this film recommended to me several times, probably because I enjoy Meryl Streep’s acting so much, it had somehow never appealed. The title is rather off-putting, and the theme, I gathered, was related to high fashion, a topic which does not interest me in the slightest.But when I saw the DVD for a pound at a UK charity shop, in excellent condition, I couldn’t resist.

I’m glad I went ahead and bought ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, because it was a surprisingly enjoyable, if undemanding film. Anne Hathaway co-stars as the somewhat hapless Andrea who wants to be a journalist but manages to walk into a job she knows almost nothing about, working as a personal assistant in an exclusive fashion magazine office.

While Anne Hathaway is great in the role, it reminded me forcibly, more than once, of some of her other roles; in particular as the frumpish princess in the ‘Princess Diaries’, and also as Cinderella in ‘Ella Enchanted’. She’s grown up a bit in this movie, but looked fine to me at the point where the entire staff of the fashion store were laughing at her and calling her ‘fat’. Her eventual transformation is rather inevitable.

Meryl Streep, however, shows, once again, her amazing versatility, in a role unlike anything I have seen her in before. She plays Miranda, the owner of the fashion magazine, a snobbish, bullying and frankly nasty person who seems to care little about anyone other than her spoilt twin daughters.

While much of the fashion discussion left me mystified, the storyline is essentially character-based, charting Andrea’s gradual successes which are only in part due to her make-over, and contrasting them with what - and who - she begins to lose. She has to make a lot of difficult decisions, and I didn’t know how the film would end; it could have gone either way.

I didn’t find the film particularly amusing, although there were some light-hearted parts, and it didn’t need a great deal of thought. But I liked the theme of making conscious choices about careers and relationships, and the way the film clearly shows - without being too overt about it - how easy it can be to become unpleasant, even vicious to one’s colleagues and friends when ambition is too strong.

Overall, it made a pleasant evening’s viewing. Rated 12, presumably for the relatively mild bad language. But as far as I recall there’s no violence, and no overt scenes of intimacy or anything else that would warrant a rating above PG. Not that I would expect it to appeal to children or younger teenagers, particularly.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's DVD Reviews

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