The Devil Wears Prada
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006 movie about an aspiring journalist who moves to New York and lands what many would consider to be a dream job: working as an assistant to the editor-in-chief of the world's premiere fashion magazine. But she finds out that the editor also has a reputation for being a demanding perfectionist who can be quite vicious when her high standards are not met. The movie features cruel judgments about body size and fashion. Characters are materialistic and catty (usually as comedy, though some hurtful comments are also made). Characters use moderate language ("s--t") and drink alcohol. Lots of mentions of high-end fashion brands. Andi has sex with a writer on their first date (after admitting she's drunk), then regrets it. Younger kids won't be interested, since the subject matter won't mean anything to them. The movie could inspire discussion about how women in positions of power are perceived differently than men -- a point Andi makes toward the movie's end.
What's the story?
In THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, socially-conscious journalism major Andi (Anne Hathaway) takes a job at Runway fashion magazine as second assistant to ruthless editor Miranda (Meryl Streep). Andi is told repeatedly that if she survives a year, she'll be able to get a job at any magazine, but has no idea how tough her year will be: Her primary jobs are fetching coffee and outfits from various designers around town, and running personal errands for Miranda. Andi is also at the beck and call of first assistant Emily (Emily Blunt). Worse, she's reminded daily that her clothes are ugly and that she's "fat" (at size six). Art director Nigel (Stanley Tucci) gives Andi a makeover and Andi devotes herself to pleasing Miranda, leaving her live-in boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier) and best friend Lilly (Tracie Thoms) feeling abandoned. But even as she's seduced by a cynical writer (Simon Baker) and enticed by the sense of power the fashion folks claim for themselves, Andi never loses her moral sensibility.
Is it any good?
Sometimes over the top and sometimes sentimental, Prada is most notable for Meryl Streep's remarkably subtle performance as super-diva Miranda Priestly. While the movie loves its costumes and montages (often together), the plot is creaky and the target far too easy: Everyone knows the world of haute couture is cutthroat, imperious, and lurid.
Streep's Miranda is complex and compelling. Though her outfits and superciliousness are as outrageous as everyone else's, Miranda tends to speak quickly and quietly, to assume her supremacy even as she's vulnerable. Fashion-loving teens are likely to enjoy this frothy tale.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Andi's plan to use her assistant job as a route to becoming a journalist: How does she rationalize this choice? How does Andi learn to fit into the world of high fashion by wearing the right clothes, dieting, and becoming increasingly judgmental of others? What messages does the movie send about the importance of physical appearances?
Toward the end of the movie, Andi makes the argument that Miranda would be treated differently by our society had she been a man; where a tough and demanding male boss is seen to be strong and in control, similar qualities in a female boss are couched in labels like "ice queen" and "dragon lady." Do you think this opinion is accurate? Would Miranda be perceived differently if she had been a man?
This movie was based on a best-selling novel. What do you think would be the challenges in adapting a novel like this into a movie?