The Devil Wears Prada
Long before Jimmy Choo or Louis Vuitton, the Romans knew the score on couture. Back in 1AD Roman philosopher Seneca warned of the imperilled dangers of living ‘not according to reason, but according to fashion.’ Not that anyone took any notice. A couple of millennia later nice twee wannabee journalist Andy (Anne Hathaway) finds herself employed as one of two personal secretaries to the formidable Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), an intimidating streak of steel haired malevolence, one mindedness and ultimate power in the precious world of American fashion magazines. Priestly is the editor of Runway, the New York based fashion bible along the lines of Vogue, and though she thinks Andy is the least stylish person she has ever met, she is attracted by her indifference to the multimillion dollar empire that defines her life. So Andy finds herself in the world of the ‘clackers’ (so named because of the sound of their high heeled shoes on the marble floors), and her trial by fashion, by Priestly and her journey to finding out what she really wants and who she really is begins.
Based on Lauren Weisberger’s kiss-and-tell bestseller (Weisberger was Wintour’s assistant between 1999 and 2000), The Devil Wears Prada plays like an exceptionally fine episode of Sex in The City (so it should, director David Frankel was at the helm of the pilot and many installments of that show), with killer one lines, really well rounded characterisation and excellent performances from Streep and supports Stanley Tucci and British actress Emily Blunt (last seen in My Summer of Love) in particular.
It’s all pretty formulaic and pat, reminiscent of Nichols’ Working Girl or Stone’s Wall Street, but The Devil Wears Prada is so slyly written, deliciously performed and energetically executed that it’s difficult not to fall for its myriad of charms.
The film is, however, not without its problems - there’s some dodgy American synth and rock on the soundtrack and the whole thing with Andy’s dull arsed ethno-chef boyfriend is yawn inspiring but in terms of decent mainstream US films this year, this enjoyably innocuous, bitchy romp, which contains the occasional truth couched with all the half baked reasoning of an old John The Breakfast Club Hughes’ movie may be as good as it gets. So let us be grateful.
General release from Thu 5 Oct.