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  Publicity Stills of "The Devil Wears Prada"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Comedy
Director: David Frankel
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Adrien Grenier
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG
Opening Day: 31 August 2006


Synopsis :

The Devil wears Prada, starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. In this comedy, based on the best-selling book of the same name, Andrea Sachs (Hathaway) gets the job a million girls would kill for, assistant to legendary fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestly (Streep). Survival on the job for one year means that Andrea can pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. Navigating her way through the glamorous world of the fashion industry proves to be a lot more difficult than she imagined. As the demands of her brilliant boss become more outrageous and the job pressures mount, Andrea needs to decide whether one year working for Miranda Priestly is worth the price of her soul.

Movie Review:

It is said that clothes maketh a man, or in this case, a woman, but that's quite superficial, much like the very maligned facade of the fashion industry which The Devil Wears Prada doesn't avoid stereotyping. However, it's rather enjoyable and provided identifiable elements in the story for audiences to follow through.

Based on a novel by Lauren Weisberger, this David Frankel directed movie opens with a montage of ladies getting dressed for work, and while you wonder what's taking them so long, it helps a guy like me appreciate the pains they go through to look good. The movie starts off like what you see in the trailer, introducing Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs, a young journalism graduate seeking a job at a premier fashion magazine called Runway.

As you would half expect, the editor-in-chief for a magazine of that kind of stature would either be tremendously flamboyant and charismatic, or steely cold with a cynical attitude born out of being the only opinion which matters in the industry. Meryl Streep plays Miranda Priestly, and unfortunately for Andrea as she finds out, Miranda belongs to the latter. And being the apprentice never is easy, especially when you get thrown into the deep end of the pool on your first day, and are expected to either sink or swim.

It's an interesting look at jobs essentially, nevermind the industry it's set in. Is what you're doing a stepping stone to something else in the future? Do you truly love your job? Is your boss and colleagues giving you nightmares? Do you call it quits halfway when the going gets tough (or almost impossible), or do you have what it takes to belong amongst the tough who gets going? You also ponder upon where the line is drawn between work-life balance, and wonder at the loneliness faced when you're at the top of your game, and the number of people you probably have to step to get there.

Anne Hathaway keeps her clothes on in this movie, and wow, all the girls watching this movie will probably be instantly falling for all the branded fashion togs on display. From shoes to bags to gowns, Hathaway carries the wardrobe with aplomb, as do many other models and actresses in the movie. With her bambi large eyes, her Andrea is the wide-eyed ingenue totally clueless to the fashion industry, but as the outsider, able to bring with her a fresh perspective and dogged determination to succeed in a job role (with the obvious perks) that millions of girls would kill for.

Veteran star Meryl Streep, last seen on screen in Prime earlier this year, actually looked very glamourous, and is perfectly cast as the cynical editor-in-chief of the Runway. Ever so cold, and always able to hurt with her acidic tongue, her impossibly demanding Marinda Priestly is the perfect example of the Dragon Lady from Hell. While there are moments to try and present a softer side to her character, these are quickly overshadowed by her mean demeanour, as the dark side is ever so present and in her blood. What works too is the chemistry between Meryl and Anne, as they personify the love hate relationship between employer and employee, and the unwitting apprentice in the wings, in a pretty believable manner.

The supporting cast are pretty eye candy, like Emily (Emily Blunt), the first assistant to Priestly, and the particularly likeable Stanley Tucci as Nigel the valued right hand man, who's also seen in Lucky Number Slevin (currently playing in theatres at time of writing), and best remembered for his role chasing Tom Hanks around The Terminal. Accentuating the movie is the pop soundtrack by prominent artistes such as U2, Jamiroquai and Madonna, whose instantly recognizable song Vogue is so apt for a movie like this.

In the rat race, it's always a constant challenge to break the rhythm when you have something good going on. If your rather enjoyable work becomes detrimental to things you hold dear to, would you?

That's all.

Movie Rating:

(An enjoyable and extremely watchable "chick flick" with great chemistry between Streep and Hathaway. The fickleness of high fashion surely never looked so fun to be in)

Review by Stefan Shih


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