Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Review: The Devil Wears Prada

Some people say it's a great movie if you're a teenage girl, but this bloke in his thirties really enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada.

It's a typical Faustian tale of temptation and the high price of success. Andrea (Anne Hathaway) takes on a job as PA to the fearsome fashion editor Miranda Priestley. At first it's just a job, until Andrea reaches a crisis point and must decide - will she fit in with her job's impossibly high fashion standards and cater to her boss's every whim, or will she quit? She's not a quitter, so she becomes part of the landscape.

It's a good film to watch and think about:
  • toxic working environments
  • abusive bosses
  • the close relationship between ambition, fear and no imagination
  • entrepreneurship as a necessary way out from the madness!
  • the importance of our small moral choices - they all add up to big choices
Of course, most of us won't face situations so dramatic as Andrea's situation, but it's a good moral exercise to put yourself in her Gucci shoes as you watch this entertaining comedy-drama.


At 10:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know about The Devil Wears Prada. I went to see it with camoflage - a date. Because it's a 'Chick-Flik', after all.
I have always been fascinated by the fashion world. After years in advertising I always said that the only other fields that interest me are publishing and fashion. Yes, I am that shallow.
I didn't get the sense of moral indignation about leadership that you did.
I was reminded that even the toughest are simply human. That the facade of performance is often just that - a performance.
Meryl streep did a great job convincing us that she was a complete bitch, an automaton (though who doesn't toss their fur at their assistant each morning).
I felt for her when her marriage fell apart. Not from a work/life balance - aha...told you so point of view, but because I knew how she felt. And you have to feel for the Streep. How hard it must be for her to perform with an American Accent. I wonder if she had a coach.

I was reminded of a BBC documentary I saw about Anna Wintour, on whom the Strep character is modelled (if you'll pardon the pun). Very interesting. Enjoyed the bon mot "The Wintour of our discontent". But the astonishing thing was that TVNZ broadcast it as a filler for an absentee programme, then never showed the series, which was about women as leaders.

Now there's something we need to discuss...

At 5:47 am, Blogger Simon said...

>I didn't get the sense of moral indignation about leadership that you did.

Good point. I wouldn't have described my feelings in those terms, but now you mention it, I suppose it is a kind of indignation.

More than that, it's a sense of questioning - do you really need to leave your soul at the door to get ahead? Doesn't that mean there is something fundamentally wrong with the system that produces those results?

And I absolutely felt for Streep's character as her marriage fell apart - but saw it as a little bit inevitable because of the choices she made.

In fact the story was all about being aware of the choices we make - Priestley (Streep) says as much to Andrea (Hathaway) in the limousine.

As for women in leadership as a topic - agreed, a very important topic. Any thought-starters?

At 9:20 am, Blogger Oops said...

I recently watched Pirates of the Caribbean III and thought it the character development of Kiera Knightly's character was very interesting. She started out in the first installment being painfully fit into a corset and by the third she was barking orders as a Captain and filling the role of "King [sic] of the Pirates". She however, seemed to have completely ignored the neofeminist mindset as she in a motivational speech waxed eloquent about mankind without batting an eyelid or apologizing or adding "and womankind" as an aside. I was also surprised by how she looked somewhat non-feminine in some scenes in the second half of the film. Questions might arise in one's mind as to whether one has to dismiss with some aspects of femininity to enter a position of leadership, or whether our ideas of femininity are actually wrong, etc. At any rate, it was interesting to think about and see Hollywood do something unconventional.


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