Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

[from July 1, 2006]

Except for about 15 minutes in the middle, I quite enjoyed this film. Fluffy, without being sentimental, and lots of GREAT fashion eye candy. And I *loved* that not one female in the movie had a "get the guy" subplot. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to see a story dominated by women that wasn't even a little steeped in shipping. Yeah, the women in the movie had men in their lives, but they were in the background.

The centerpiece of the film, of course, is Meryl Streep - or, as I refer to her, The Greatest Actress Ever. It was once said that what she does is more channeling than acting, and this is one of the best roles she's had to play with in a while. The power her character has over her magazine and in the fashion industry itself is established before she even appears on screen. And she's able to convey a lot of different emotions without removing the mask of that power. Her character, Miranda, would never have gotten as far as she has (as a woman, I mean) if she hadn't learned to control and disguise her emotions, i.e., play it like a man. That really comes through here, and it's a testament to Streep's acting ability that despite not being able to give over to her emotions she still manages to convey what she's feeling.

The rest of the cast is remarkable as well. I quite like Anne Hathaway, and I don't want to gloss over her performance, because it takes a great deal of ability and presence to share a screen with Streep as much as she does. But my favorite performances were Emily Blunt as Emily and especialy Stanley Tucci as Nigel. I'd never seen Blunt before, but she was SO great as the bitchy fasionista-wannabe. She was such a great foil for Anne Hathaway. But Stanley Tucci was by far my favorite, almost edging out Ms. Streep herself. His mentor-ish relationship with Hathaway's Andy is fascinating, and he has some of the best lines. (Referring to women's sizes, he says "2 is the new 4, 0 is the new 2, and 6 is the new 14.") A lesser actor in a lesser film would have played this as a stereotypical, swishing, lisping gay man. Now, I do think his character was probably supposed to be gay, but Tucci plays it very subtly because that's not Nigel's defining characteristic.

However, as much as I loved most of this movie, there was about 15 minutes that took me out of the film almost completely. I won't spoil it for anyone, but it involves Harry Potter, and it's the kind of thing that drove me - as an obsessive HP fan - crazy.

Despite that weird little detour, though, I found the rest of the movie very enjoyable. It's not deep or anything, but it's a fun movie - for women, at least. :P And Anne Hathaway makes a great, flawed heroine.

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