Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker
Director: David Frankel
Release Date: 30 June 2006
Length: 109 minutes
Movie Rating: PG-13
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 3/5 stars
“After taking a job in the Big Apple as assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep, in an Oscar-nominated role), small-town girl Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is thrilled – until the magic wears off, and she’s left feeling battered and used. But at least she looks fabulous, right? Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier and Emily Blunt co-star in this big-screen adaption of Lauren Weisberger’s best-selling novel.” — Netflix.com
This movie started off really well for me and was heading towards 4 stars, but then I got to the middle and it plummeted into average-dom. If you watch the previews or ads, you will find that all of the scenes come from the first half of the film, which is really funny. It is a biting satire into the fashion industry and is done with a sharp, comedic edge. Meryl Streep plays fashion magazine goddess Miranda Priestly. No detail is too small for her attention and she demands perfection at all times. Her coffee must be a certain temperature, people must be available on the phone when she wishes to speak with them, she does not tolerate suggestions or back talking, in short, she is the worst boss that you could ever dream up. Meryl just took this role and ran with it, keeping her face rigid (to show the botox, I am sure) with pursed lips and elitism oozing out of her pores. Andrea, played by Anne Hathaway, is thrilled to have her first “real job” and plays the fresh-faced ingenue at the beginning to perfection. I did not find her quite as believable for the 2nd half, where she supposedly turned into a fashionista and started fitting into her new world. She is not hard-edged enough, not skinny enough and not fake enough. Emily Blunt was a riot as the lead assistant and she really stole the show when it was a scene without Meryl Streep in it. Now she was in the fashion world to win. She has a take-no-prisoners approach and uses the power afforded to her as Miranda’s assistant with brutal efficiency. And she is so funny while she does it! Stanley Tucci was adorable as a gay stylist working at the magazine who takes Andrea under his wing to try and give her some polish. He helps explain the convoluted fashion world to the newcomer and was hilarious while he did it.
So the first half was great and I found myself laughing all over the place. Then they had to take the story and turn it into a movie with a socially redeeming message and how you have to stay true to yourself and cannot sell out for money or a great job or whatever. Um, yeah, except people do this every day. I actually think that it would have been a little more interesting if Miranda’s character had converted and morphed into another character. The longer I work at my job, the more I realize that I spend more time at work, more time with my coworkers, more time with my clients, then I do with anyone else. My office is my primary place of residence, not my home, because I spend so much more time there! Your job is going to shape your personality and it is going to change you, hopefully for the better, but not always. I mean, kudos to Miranda for realizing the change was happening and making a choice rather than just letting life wash over her, but then the movie just kind of made the rest of us feel a little bit worse for not being brave enough to just walk away. Firstly, I cannot afford to, secondly, I do not have to compromise my life or values like Miranda did, but I think I would have struggled walking away from that job because there is so much glamor associated with the fashion industry. Even with all of the crap that Miranda’s assistants had to put up with, they are still the envy of so many as they are in the center of the fashion world and not on the fringes.
This movie gave an interesting glimpse into the catty, back-stabbing world of the fashion industry. I am not sure how much of this movie (or the book it was based on) is true, but it seems fairly typical for the genre. The clothes were in turns amazing and hideous. The trends that the office talk about as if the world depends on it were fun to hear about and I realize how truly little attention I pay to being fashionable. The employees were obsessed and so really funny to me. There is a lot to like about this film and I think that women the world over enjoyed this movie. It is unfortunate that there is no real message included here about not having to be quite so thin or quite so perfect, but dressing for your body type and still looking good as that would have been rewarding. All of the women in the office are thin, beautiful and dressed to perfection, which is a little demoralizing for the rest of us. Still, if you are looking for a funny movie, in a sarcastic, darkly comedic way, this is a good movie for a girl’s night in.
There are a few sensual scenes in this movie, but they do not show too much and they are pretty short. The actors are pretty catty and do not hesitate to backstab and do whatever it takes to advance themselves in their career. The models and the female office workers are all thin and small sizes. It is pretty clear that this is considered more preferable and more attractive than being bigger or wearing a bigger size. You need to have a pretty decent self-esteem to watch this movie or just view it with a grain of salt and realize that this world view is not universally accepted. Still, the movie is pretty clean and is recommended for ages 13 and up.