Think your boss is bad? Try having a silver-maned dragon lady waltz in every morning, plunk her fur and Fendi bag du jour down on your desk, and bark out orders such as "I'd like my breakfast now" or "bring me the table I saw at that store" or "my daughters need surf boards or boogie boards or whatever for our vacation tomorrow." Don't dream of asking for clarification or expecting to be called by the correct name.

That's the reality Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) faces every day as junior assistant to Miranda Preistly (Meryl Streep), editor of the fashion bible Runway Magazine. It's a job a million girls would die for, or so Andy is told at every turn. Though mostly Andy just wants to kill her fashionista boss for sending her on countless mindless errands, and then calling her every 20 seconds to amend, add to, or confuse the commands. But Andy, the baggie-clothed journalist who doesn't know Michael Kors from Michael Jackson, puts up with Miranda's sadistic behavior because she's been promised that if she can stick it out for a year, she can write her ticket to any job in the mag market.

Meryl Streep as Miranda, the dragon lady of a boss

Meryl Streep as Miranda, the dragon lady of a boss

Andy seems to have a forcefield of sunshine warding off the snarky stares and insults of senior assistant Emily (Emily Blunt) and the rest of the Clackers (so named for the sound their stilettos make on the hard floor). She fumbles her way through the strange new world of fashion intent on being unaffected by the materialism and meal-avoidance. But over time, Andy allows fashion editor Nigel (delightfully played by Stanley Tucci) to give her an extreme makeover. Though these changes are lovely on Hathaways' long, lean frame, some of the other changes that sneak in during Andy's tour of duty aren't so pretty—like the fact that she starts to go AWOL on her dad, best friend Lilly (Tracie Thoms), and grungy boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier).

Anne Hathaway plays Andy Sachs, who puts up with Miranda's daily antics

Anne Hathaway plays Andy Sachs, who puts up with Miranda's daily antics

Fans of Lauren Weisberger's 2003 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name will recognize the story up to this point, with a few minor tweaks. Miranda's French accent has slipped over to Emily and turned British (I'd so looked forward to Streep calling Andy "Ahn-dre-ah" whenever she got her name right). And any speck of compassion we read about in Emily has been stripped away and some of it has been surprisingly given to Miranda. Lilly isn't a key player here, or an alcoholic. And Nigel, as you can tell by the casting of Stanley Tucci, isn't a big gay black man. The most noticeable changes from the book occur in second-half plot twists, when we see Miranda be (gasp!) vulnerable and makeup-less, Andy actually take pride in her job, and the world of fashion bestowed with some honor and worth.

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They've given Miranda more humanity here than in the book version, which I'm somewhat torn about. A more balanced Miranda is more realistic, but also weakens the premise of the story. After 400 pages of completely heartless Miranda, the movie version feels more like The Mean Boss-Lady Wears Prada than The Devil Wears Prada. But then it's hard to picture Meryl Streep as a she-devil. Even in her toughest roles, we heart Meryl. It's a delight to see her here in a rare comedic turn, seeming to have fun with her parade of Prada and cold-hearted commentary. When she delivers her dismissing "That's all" to her lackeys, you can almost see ice crystals forming in the air around her mouth. She elevates the film with her commanding yet understated presence.

Stanley Tucci as fashion editor Nigel, who gives Andy a fashion makeover

Stanley Tucci as fashion editor Nigel, who gives Andy a fashion makeover

Though Miranda is wonderfully cast, some of the other characters don't fare as well. Though Hathaway is endearing and lovely, she's too Pollyanna for the catty world of the catwalk. And though she looks pretty in the latter half of the film, she also looks a tad gangly in some of her dashing-through-the-streets-of-New York or Paris scenes. I don't quite buy her as one of the semi-high-profile faces for fashion's it magazine. And Simon Barker is all wrong as Christian Thompson, the smooth-talking writer who woos Andy. With his poorly written lines and stiff delivery, he emits zero chemistry with our girl, making us wonder why she'd risk things with her grungy-but-lovable beau for this guy.

In the end, The Devil Wears Prada is a fun voyeuristic peek into the world of high fashion—which was the main appeal of the breezy bestseller upon which it's based. I'm not quite sure what Andy learns by the end of the flick—perhaps something about being true to your heart or how to stride about in a pair of Jimmy Choos. But, as with a glossy mag like Runway, we don't really watch this kind of flick for the meaty message. If you're looking for a light-hearted romp down the runway, The Devil Wears Prada is a perfect fit.

Talk About It

  Discussion starters
  1. What do you think about Nigel's pep talk to Andy when she whines to him about her job? Is he right or is she justified in her complaints about her work?

  2. Trace the way Andy changes throughout the course of her job. Does she ever "sell out"? If so, at what point?

  3. For what qualities are women considered beautiful or important throughout the movie? In what ways do you agree or disagree with these messages?

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  1. What role can/should fashion play in a Christian's life?

The Family Corner

For parents to consider

The Devil Wears Prada contains a few bad words and some premarital sex, though no steamy scenes. In the opening scenes we see a few of the Clackers in their skimpy undies. There are some muddy messages about beauty and body image here that are worth discussing, especially with young girls.

What Other Critics Are Saying
compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet

from Film Forum, 07/27/06

Ken Morefield (Looking Closer) writes, "The Devil Wears Prada can't quite decide if it wants to be a farce about Andy trying to deal with Miranda or a serious social commentary about Andy trying not to become Miranda. It hits on enough hot button topics and addresses enough issues that its careful observations almost pass for penetration. In the end, though, it's one of those films that keep you waiting for insight while it is busy pointing out connections you made twenty minutes ago."

The Devil Wears Prada
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
Average Rating
(1 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for some sensuality)
Directed By
David Frankel
Run Time
1 hour 49 minutes
Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Adrian Grenier
Theatre Release
June 30, 2006 by 20th Century Fox
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