Hello everyone and welcome back to another Movie Monday. If you are a Disney fan like I am then I am sure you’ll know that Disney’s Jungle Cruise was released recently. The movie which stars Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson debuted atop the North American box office charts with a sum of $34 million and internationally the movie is said to have amounted at $90 million.
There will be a #moviemonday discussion all about Jungle Cruise coming up soon however seeing this movie made me realise how much I like Emily Blunt as an actress and it made me go back and watch one of my favourite movies that she is in which is The Devil Wears Prada. So let’s dive into Movie Monday.
The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway came out in 2006. The movie was directed by David Frankel and the screenplay was based on Lauren Weisberger’s novel. A fun movie fact is that due to the designer labels that were used, this movie is one of the most expensively costumed movies in cinematic history.
Anne Hathaway plays Andrea (Andy) Sachs. She is an aspiring writer who dreams of being a ‘real’ journalist who writes hard hitting articles about important topics. She could not care less about fashion but she still gets as job as an assistant to editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine, the demanding and brilliant Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). The goal is to work at Runway for a year, meeting writers and editors in the hopes of making connections and landing a dream job somewhere else.
At Runway the awkward and disinterested Andy meets the very driven and passionate about fashion Emily. (Emily Blunt) and the honest and tough loving and fabulous at his job Nigel (Stanley Tucci). At Runway Andy learns about fashion, she gets a wardrobe upgrade, she is pushed to her limits and challenged to the point of quitting but then she reevaluates her goals and decides that the perseverance will be worth it. With her renewed determination Andy starts to improve and even thrive in her new environment and she learns that fashion is not as silly as she once believed. This job challenges her professionally and privately and at Runway Andy learns a difficult but important lesson – being the best and being on top requires choices and consequences and if she wants to achieve her goals then she is really going to have to work towards them. This is a business. It is not personal and Andy learns that these choices are not always kind ones.
I would say that this movie has four main characters – Miranda, Andy, Emily and Nigel.
We also meet an ensemble of characters who are important to Andy’s personal life – her boyfriend Nate and some friends, and there are also some new side characters that Andy meets in the fashion world.
Miranda Priestly is a very intimidating woman. She is brilliant at what she does. She is demanding and at times she seems impossible to please however she gives her all to her job. She is extremely successful in her professional career but her personal life is not so happy. Miranda is a character who I appreciate much more when watching as an adult. When you are young it is so easy to call her a mean woman who is very unlikable and nothing else however as an adult, it is clear that Miranda is a complex and nuanced character. She chooses her career. She chooses work. She chooses to be excellent and to her, all those personal sacrifices are worth it. Yes she is demanding but she is extremely driven and that is admirable. She is willing to make the tough calls and some of them are cruel – the ending of the film demonstrates this perfectly however I won’t spoil it. If you know you know and if you don’t know watch it.
Andy is naive. She is full of aspirations and potential. She learns a lot about herself over the course of this movie which I enjoy. She starts off not caring about fashion and scoffing at those who do. She is quickly knocked down a few pegs at Runway which I think is needed for her character development. Laughing at someone’s interests because they are different to yours is not endearing in any way and just because Andy deems fashion as unimportant does not mean that it is. This is a lesson that Miranda teaches her in the immaculately delivered ‘pile of stuff’ monologue – I would recommend this movie for this monologue alone. Andy meets new people and experiences new challenges and this job at Runway allows her to learn about herself. She is a changed person at the end which is satisfying to see and she does learn the key lesson which is we must each make our own choices and decide who and what we want to be and what we are willing to do to reach our goals. Andy makes her own choice after the experience at Runway opened her eyes.
Emily is passionate about fashion and style. This is her dream job. She is hardworking and all knowing and she helps Andy learn the ropes despite refusing to hold her hand. Emily is the type of girl who Andy would have scoffed at in the beginning and Emily has no patience for Andy’s disinterest. She is driven and for Emily, the thing that makes it all worth it is the opportunity to go to Paris with Miranda for fashion week. Emily Blunt plays this character brilliantly. She is sharp and witty and even in what are meant to be some meaner moments, Blunt plays her in an incredibly funny way that I can’t help but love her.
Nigel is the talented art director and Stanley Tucci plays him wonderfully. He takes on a mentor role and he helps Andy fit in more at Runway, starting with a wardrobe change and ending with a tough love reality check. He tells Andy to stop expecting gold stars for the bare minimum and to stop behaving as though she is above everyone at work. ‘A million girls would kill to work here and you only deign to work here.’ Nigel represents hard work and perseverance and it is he and Emily who pay the price for choices made by Miranda and Andy – again no spoilers, watch the movie!
Nate & Co.
There are many ways one can interpret the character of Nate. Some agree with him, some hate him. An amusing meme that I’ve seen lately is that he is the real villain of this movie instead of the ‘horrible’ Miranda and I tend to agree with this estimation. Nate is a terrible boyfriend in my opinion. He does have some valid points however overall he gets a no from me. He and Andy’s friends laugh at fashion, just as she used to and they get annoyed when her job starts taking up all of her time and they never see her. Some may see this as a valid complaint and it is to an extent however there never seemed to be any support from her friends, who had no problem accepting the expensive gifts Andy brought them from work. They never seemed to give any consideration to the fact that Andy was paying her dues and working towards her goals. Nate in particular feels Andy is changing and while this can be a valid complaint, I feel that the idea that a partner can never change or develop new interests is not one that should be made popular and Nate is a chef so he should be more understanding about working odd hours in busy and demanding environments. Communication is a character flaw, on his part and on Andy’s part. They should have sat down and had a proper discussion about their issues. Nate should have said he misses her and feels as though they have nothing in common anymore and Andy should have been honest about the fact that after learning more about the fashion world she realises it is nothing like she imagined it and she should have been honest about the fact that she was beginning to enjoy her job. Alas there are so many plots that involve miscommunication and if all characters sat down rationally then we have no movie.
Disclaimer I don’t think Nate is a bad guy – he’s just not the type of guy I’d want to date and her friends could have been more understanding and issues could have been discussed better but again, what’s a plot without conflict?
I also do not consider Miranda to be the villain. She is a flawed character who does bad things at times but she is also an incredibly driven business woman who has chosen to put her career first and as Andy so rightfully points out, ‘If Miranda was a man all anyone would say is how good she is at her job.’ Miranda is all too aware of the personal costs her professional life entails and she has decided that those costs are worth it.
Structure & Themes.
I would say this is a movie that could be described in three sections – The initial struggle. Adapting. Choosing. I would say that the movie’s themes match that structure very well.
Let’s look at the themes of this movie. The cost of success. Learning and growing as a person. The tension between one’s personal life and one’s professional life. Achieving dreams. The cost of dreams and most importantly, choices. This movie teaches a very important lesson about choices. All decisions have aftermath and consequences. Some impact you wonderfully and others badly. So it is up to the individual to make their own choices and decide if the consequences are worth it.
Andy makes many choices. She chooses to work for Miranda. She chooses to stick it out. She chooses to put in more effort and improve and this choice is reflected in the middle of the movie.
In the beginning Andy is awkward. She makes mistakes. She’s not interested and then we see her improve. Her outfits become more high fashion. She becomes more confident and the movie begins to flow more smoothly just as Andy does. We watch her go from struggling to adapting to thriving and then the key point in this film is at the end when Andy must decide what kind of life she wants and that is how this movie ends, with Andy choosing.
So her character has three stages – awkward – gaining confidence – clear ideas about who she is and what she wants so since Andy is our main protagonist, I would say the structure matches her personal journey which is satisfying to watch.
The Devil Wears Prada is an entertaining film and I think Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt make this movie. Anne Hathaway is a wonderful Andy but I personally prefer Streep’s and Blunt’s characters.
I would recommend this movie. I think that fashion lovers will appreciate the attention to detail and anyone who has a dream they are working toward will understand the journey and I think if you just like good movies with conflict and comedy then this is a great movie to watch on a rainy day.
This has been Movie Monday. Let me know what you think of this movie.