The Devil Wears Prada – The Ice Queen Cometh
Working for an evil boss is hell. Not only do they make your work day miserable, but their malignant influence carries over into the rest of your life and starts to kill the majority of your joy until you are an empty, bitter shadow of your former self. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but from personal experience, they do affect one’s work day in a negative way and can taint one’s personal life as well.
Having worked with both difficult men and difficult women managers I have come to the conclusion that while the men can be damned brutal, women are hands down more vicious in their tearing down of one’s esteem. I think the crucial difference is that with women, it’s personal – they don’t just hate your work; they hate you for making them have to tell you that they hate your work.
The movie“The Devil Wears Prada” was released in 2006 and in addition to Meryl Streep, the cast includes Anne Hathaway (“The Princess Diaries”) as the movie’s central character, as well as Emily Blunt (love her!) (“Sunshine Cleaning”, “The Jane Austin Book Club”) and Stanley Tucci with whom Meryl played opposite in “Julie & Julia.” The movie focuses on the fashion industry, though main character Andy’s main goal is to get into the publishing industry.
I have to admit that Streep’s character surprised me in this movie, but after I read the book I understood that she was meant to be icy in her criticism of her employees rather than a human flame-thrower who sounds like she’s chewing off the bottom of her face while she rants. And speaking of faces, how does Streep continue to look ageless??? Are she and Dick Clark from the same gene pool? Whatever the explanation, she was absolutely flawless in this movie, except in the scene where she wasn’t meant to be.
Once I got the gist of “Miranda Priestly” I thoroughly enjoyed Meryl’s performance, especially the scene in Miranda’s office when clothes are being chosen for a shoot and “Andy” snorts in derision about the belt selection. Streep flawlessly moves through the scene assembling an outfit while berating (in her regal, quietly cutting manner) Andy for her ignorance of how high fashion decisions trickle down through the rest of the industry thus affecting even the bargain basement clothing industry while also significantly impacting the economy and the job market. This is the turning point for Andy in the movie and where she starts to embrace the fashion aspect of her job. We also see the value of Streep’s character in being a driving force behind clothing trends, evil though she may be to work for.
In doing some background reading for today’s post (using Wikipedia) I was interested to note that many designers distanced themselves from this film (except for providing clothing and accessories from their lines to be used in the making of the movie) for fear of offending the editor of Vogue – it is rumored that Priestly’s character was based on her. The fashions in the movie were really amazing and according to the Wikipedia blurb, it broke the record for the “most expensively-costumed film in history”.
In considering this movie, most specifically Andy’s choices (job over boyfriend, friends & a life for one year), I was thinking about whether I would do the same if I were in her place (single, just starting out career-wise & ambitious). Sure I would. I think a lot of people would be willing to sacrifice a year of their lives if they knew it would give them a solid launch into their dream career. It would be miserable and there would no doubt be casualties and those who would drop out in defeat, but getting to the end and being able to leverage that time to get one’s dream job would be enough of an enticement to get many people through.
With regards to Meryl Streep and her impact on the film industry – let’s just say that she’s changed things for the better. In a quote by Goldie Hawn’s character in “The First Wives Club” there are three different women’s roles in the movie industry: “Babe, District Attorney & Driving Miss Daisy.” That very well may have been the case, but there are women actresses currently working in the industry who have broken out of those narrow parameters and Streep has been a major player in that movement.
Rent or buy this movie. Enjoy the fashion, story line and acting. Remember never to turn your nose up at an industry you don’t completely understand and never turn your back on an evil woman.