REEL REVIEW: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA

The Devil Wears Prada Movie Poster

Title: The Devil Wears Prada
Screenwriter: Aline Brosh McKenna
Director: David Frankel
Release Date: June 30, 2006
Running Time: 109 minutes
Synopsis: A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.

With Friends Like These

Can we talk about how Andy has terrible friends? So your friend hooks you up with FREE stuff, like a Jetsons cordless phone or a not-even available Marc Jacobs bag that you practically tongue down on site. To thank your friend for such an AMAZING hook up, when her boss from said job that gave her the opportunity to hook you up with FREE stuff calls, you proceed to snatch the phone out of her hand and play a game of Keep Away. When she rightly calls you an A-hole, you look surprised about all that justified animosity. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

Then…your super busy friend, who is getting her butt kicked as the personal gopher to one of the most important people in the magazine world, takes the time (when she would rather catch up on some much-needed sleep) to attend your art exhibit. To thank your friend for coming to support you on your big night, you make a big deal about seeing some random guy flirt with her just because she has a boyfriend. I’m sorry, was she making out with this guy in the middle of your art exhibit OR did she make a scene by physically mounting him just to take the attention away from you? Oh, she didn’t? Then what is your problem?! YES! Your friend is taking her new gig in the fashion industry seriously and dressing the part because she wants to do a good job, so she can have a decent recommendation when she moves on to her next endeavor. It’s called growing up and being a freaking professional! You don’t recognize the Andy you’ve know for the last 16 years? That’s because she’s in the real world now. Maybe you should join her.

And don’t think I forgot about you Nate! Your girlfriend is busy doing her job and something came up at the last-minute. So…no, she wasn’t able to make your birthday party. Get over it! How do you even have time to celebrate your birthday anyway?! You are a chef in New York City…you know, the city that never sleeps. Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen mincing garlic or searing steaks or julienning peppers or whatever the heck kitchen staff does? Restaurants are always open and chefs hardly ever get time off, so how are you even around to notice how busy Andy is? You should be even busier than she is. My goodness, the best friend that Andy has is Doug, and he is just some random dude they threw in the movie to turn that friendship triangle into a square.

It’s Faux Fiction

Wow! I’m pretty sure the only thing this movie kept from the book was the title. Okay, okay…they did keep some of the characters, like Andy and Miranda (because you wouldn’t have a movie without them) and Emily. But my goodness, they changed Alex’s name to Nate, Lily was a completely different person, and they added random friend Doug to the group. Was he supposed to be a re-imagination of the guy in the book who was Lily’s ex-boyfriend and worked in the same building as Andy? Who knows…le sigh!

Let’s start with Lily. In the book, she was in graduate school studying Russian literature with a specialty in alcoholism. Can you believe she actually encouraged Andy to take things further with Christian even though she was in a relationship with Alex?! Book Lily thought Andy and Alex were way too young to be settling down, and that’s probably the smartest thing she said in the entire book. Book Lily definitely wasn’t the condescending friend who made Andy feel bad for succeeding at her job. I prefer the Lily who drank, partied, and basically flunked out of grad school.

Ugh…what in the world did they do to Miranda Priestly?! Don’t get me wrong, Meryl Streep is a wonderful actress, but this Miranda is not Miranda. Miranda Priestly is of Jewish descent who left home at 18 because she had ambitions that her family just didn’t understand. She is also in a very loving marriage with a husband who understands and respects the demands of her job. In the book, Miranda does whatever she can to please her husband…even going as far as to plan an engagement party for her brother-in-law who she sees as an unsophisticated and uncouth hick. But why present a fresh take on the inner workings of marriage for a powerful woman? No, it’s so much easier to go with the tired cliché of the power-hungry man-eater who can’t keep a husband because she only knows how to put her career first. Obviously, there is no husband who could handle such a blow to his fragile male ego. I think it would have been interesting to present the woman who is the task master at work, but also gets to have it all with a husband and children who adore her. Now that is a woman worth hating!

Overall Opinion

This used to be a pretty enjoyable movie for me because I thought of it as an homage to fashion. It will always delight my inner fashionista because even 10 years later, the wardrobe is still CLASSIC. However, after reading the book and knowing the true story, I will have to wait a while before I give this movie another go.

The Final Grade

Burnt Popcorn: Could you expect anything else after that rant? Turning Miranda into a conniving backstabber in order to make her a true villain is so unnecessary. The source material provided plenty to get that point across. Even the way Andy quits is better in the book. What’s better than saying a big F U to the boss who just made the last few months of your life a living hell. Then getting a writing job on your own terms because of that epic meltdown.

Your Turn

So…did reading the book change your opinion on the movie? Do you think Andy’s friends were the worst? Which versions of Lily and Miranda do you prefer? How long would you have survived as Miranda Priestly’s assistant? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Devil Wears Prada? Read the book review! Join the quotefest!

LIT REVIEW: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA

The Devil Wears Prada Book Cover

Title: The Devil Wears Prada
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: 2003
Summary: Andrea (Andy) Sachs is hired as a personal assistant to a powerful fashion magazine editor, a job that becomes nightmarish as she struggles to keep up with her boss’ grueling schedule and demeaning demands.

Warning: This book review contains spoilers.

Art Imitating Life?

Confession Time: Before reading The Devil Wears Prada, I always thought it was an autobiographical account of an experience where the names were changed to protect the guilty. Now, I know that although the story is fictional, it is possibly based on the author’s experience of being an assistant to the one and only maven of all things fashion, Anna Wintour. Of course, Ms. Weisberger would never come out and admit such information because I’m sure that is grounds for being sued. It’s better just to live in the grey area of speculation. I’m sure life is much more fun there.

Shut Up and Slog

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I just could not get over Andy’s whiny nature. She seemed to complain about every aspect of her job and question everything like she, as the newly hired assistant with no prior experience or knowledge of the fashion world, knows more than the Editor-in-Chief or the assistant who just had the job Andy now holds. I understand that it must really suck to basically have to be at the beck and call of a very demanding person, but honey, you signed on the dotted line, so you’re just going to have to deal with it. Besides it’s only for 1 year, and it’s a job that “a million girls would die for!” Plus, if you don’t like it, you can always quit…which is what you did.

Guilt Trips for $100, Alex

My goodness! What was up with everyone making Andy feel so guilty for being busy at the job she is being paid to do and is going to be the giant stepping stone for her writing career. Especially, when those people should be way too busy themselves. Take Alex (the boyfriend, not the Jeopardy host) who starts off supportive and understanding, but soon devolves into a petulant child. Andy and Alex breaking up is probably the best thing to happen to her. She found out that he doesn’t have what it takes to stick it out during the valleys that any good relationship must be able to withstand. As a first year teacher working in New York’s inner city schools, with the hopes and dreams of being the male equivalent of Michelle Pfeiffer from Dangerous Minds, it surprises me that he has the free time to even be worried about how much time Andy is spending at work. With the demanding job of teacher, he should be just as busy, if not more.

Even her parents making her feel guilty about not visiting after her sister, Jill, has a baby was way too much. Are you kidding me?! As an adult person, you know that no matter what your job is, you can’t just take off work for an extended period of time just to visit your newborn nephew. Sorry…but if parents can barely get leave, then I doubt they’re just making it rain PTO on aunties. Why aren’t people realizing that entering the real world and working is not like being in college?! Plus Andy already feels guilty for not being able to be there, so why pour salt in that wound?

Overall Opinion

Every single character irritated me, but the funny thing is that I was more annoyed at Andy and her crew than I was at Miranda and the Clackers (that sounds like a pretty cool band name). I even liked that the book started in the middle of the action, went back to the beginning, then continued the story. Definitely a nice change from standard storytelling.

The Final Grade

Page Turner: I was engaged in the story from beginning to end. It’s not a book that will be life changing, but it’s a good read when you want something light and breezy. Definitely makes for good beach reading.

Your Turn

So…were you annoyed by all of Andy’s complaining? Were you glad Andy and Alex split? Do you think the book is based heavily on working with Anna Wintour? Do you want the job “a million girls would die for”? Does Miranda and the Clackers sound like a good band name? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Devil Wears Prada? Read the movie review! Join the quotefest!

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As the black woman behind Reel Literature, I definitely want to read about women and people of color in the books, and I want to see more books published by writers who represent marginalized groups! In support of #DiversityBoost, created by fellow book blogger and activist for diversity in literature, Jen at The Bookavid, we will highlight authors and feature guest writers from diverse backgrounds. If you are part of a marginalized group and would liked to be featured on Reel Literature, then please contact us.

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Since we love to walk the talk we are talking, readers of this book blog will find plenty of reading recommendations that celebrate the rich diversity in literature that makes us all better readers and citizens of the world. Come to Reel Literature in search of #ownvoices stories you should be reading like books by Hispanic / Latinx writers and Asian / Pacific American writers, and memoirs from Black Women.

Your Turn

So…what are your favorite books with characters from marginalized groups? Who are your favorite writers of color? How will you support diversity in literature? Let us know in the comments! |RL

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