Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Movie Review -- The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada is the long-anticipated film based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger. Anne Hathaway plays Andrea (aka: "Ahn-dre-ah"), a recent college graduate with huge aspirations to be writing for The New Yorker someday. However, her first job is working for Runway magazine as the assistant to the devil herself, editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (played by the divine Meryl Streep) in "a job a million girls would die for." Andrea starts off as a less-than-fashionable young woman (who mocks the very product she represents) who nearly crumbles under Miranda's terror, but soon she is pulled into the viciousness of the fashion industry.

The movie drifts from the novel in some of its plot points. However, don't let this turn you off. Ultimately, the essence of the book remains. I think that one of the things that emerges in the movie that isn't as present in the book is the fact that Miranda is an actual human being. She isn't "nice", no way; however, she (like all of the other characters) has a soul. While the book is a fun read, in a way it is one-dimensional in its portrayal of the characters; the film neither bashes nor glorifies the fashion industry or Miranda. In a way, the film comes across as much smarter than the book in its exploration of what is necessary for one (we could even say for "a woman" as the film brings up the notion of whether or not Miranda would be perceived in the same way were she a man) to become a success. And in doing so, it raises the issue of whether or not we are all disposible or replaceable, whether we have expiration dates (and the lengths one will go to maintain her status).

The highlight of the film is (no surprise) Streep's portrayal of Miranda. (Here's hoping for Golden Globe and/or an Oscar nod, though the Academy seems reluctant to recognize comedy. Damn, Meryl Streep can do anything!) Streep manages to make her "evil" without turning her into a caricature of evil. There is a genuine sadness to Miranda beneath her tough-as-nails exterior. Anne Hathaway holds her own opposite Streep. She is charming and sweet, and genuinely believeable as she crosses over to the dark side. My main irritation comes from Andrea's love interests: her live-in boyfriend, Alex (played by Entourage's Adrien Grenier; and bad-boy writer, Christian (played by Simon Baker). One, I didn't really care whether or not Andy and Alex stayed together; they're, what, 22? People change and grow apart. Life goes on. (Plus, with all of his babbling about buying $5 strawberries or whatever, I found it hypocritical that he was so judgemental of high fashion.) And Christian? Ick. He was just too old and grose for Andrea; no way did I buy that relationship. No way.

I've already talked about the fashion, so I'll sign off by giving this four big stars! Great summer fun!


Blogger steveohville speakeasy said...

that's great that you liked it and were able to get over the idea that the movie isn't a direct lift from the book.

it's borderline impossible to tell a good movie from a good book. it's completely different mediums. the best a screenwriter can do is to take the idea of the book, the spirit of it, and rewrite it as true as possible but also adding to it. so it's the same, but different.

sounds like they were successful in this case.

have i scared off all your other commentors?

10:45 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

I love to see movie adaptations of books. I get so frustrated when people say things like, "Oh, the book makes so much more sense to me because I've seen the movie." Ummm...no, the movie makes sense to you; try re-reading the book! (The greatest case of this is when George (on Seinfeld) is in a book club and doesn't have time to read "Breakfast at Tiffany's" so he watches the film and starts talking about the great love affair. His fellow book club members look at him and say, "Er, George...He was gay.")

I taught a class of literature into film, and most of the students never grasped the concept of how the form of the story (you know, film versus books) impacts the story itself. Frustrating.

In this case, I think they were able to narrow down and flesh out the necessary story but also to make changes more suitable to 1 2-hr movie.

(Think everyone else is still enjoying the long holiday!)

9:35 AM  
Blogger steveohville speakeasy said...

where did you see it? that's almost as important as what you saw.

this seems like a perfect movie to see in the grand lake theater. or maybe the presidio. or the empire in the west portal.

9:53 AM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

Oh, just at the Metreon. Nothing special, but it was easy!

The Castro would be a fun place to watch this; my guess is that eventually it will make its way there!

10:52 AM  
Blogger steveohville speakeasy said...

welcome to the metreon. please feel free to talk nonstop during the movie, and please, usage of your cellphone is not only recommended but encouraged. we would like to remind you that the metreon attempts to replicate the experience of watching a movie in your own living room, except you're annoying hundreds of people.

enjoy the show.

9:40 AM  

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