Time: 109 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Costume Design.
SYNOPSIS: A naive young woman comes to New York and scores a job as the assistant to one of the city's biggest magazine editors, the ruthless and cynical Miranda Priestly. Her dreams of becoming a journalist quickly disappear as she gets more and more enthralled with the glamorous, fast-paced fashion world.
BOTTOM LINE: While this movie surely hit its audience of young, fashion-consious ladies with a dream of becoming rich in famous in New York, wihtout Meryl Streep's wicked performance it would have been unwatchable for the rest of us. Anne Hathaway manages to hold her own and even make you feel sorry for her character, though not enough to make her truly engaging. She's supposed to be just an ordinary girl who shops at the Gap and wants to be a professional writer, which is why her staying at such a demeaning job dealing with a subject she supposedly couldn't care less about is just not believable. That she would be tempted by and even come to love Prada is. Who wouldn't?
I just couldn't buy that a girl like her wouldn't quit after the first week out of principle alone. It's not even the career path she wants. Sure, a girl's got to start somewhere and we've all had to do degrading things for obnoxious people at one time in our careers, but how about a little self-respect? Which I guess after she succumbs to the "dark side" of the shallow, self-obsessed fashion world she finally learns for herself. She also gets to travel the world, learns to think on her feet and how to work with difficult people, but I don't really think those skills will teach her how to write a proper sentence. Despite, this obvious flaw, which I guess was the point of the film, I had a better time than I thought I would.
Hathaway is smart and charming and she delivers enough of a character arc to give the film an emotional center. Emily Blunt gives a standout turn in a small throwaway part as Miranda's Number 1 Assistant. Ditto for Tucci as the man who turns her from fashion victim to fashionista. However, it's Streep, as Cruella de Vil with class and restraint, that captures your eye and refuses to let go. Like Andrea, you're never quite sure what she's going to request next and it's this anticipation that gives the film its energy, spark and humor. Anyone who's worked in the arts, knows someone like Miranda...and she's not even as bad as some. I'm not sure why watching other people's discomfort makes most people smile, but I do know that the more unhappy Andrea was, the funnier this movie became. While this film doesn't have anything new or profound to say, the performances and packaging plug the plot holes quite nicely, delivering an experience most women will enjoy.