The Devil Wears Prada is my second favorite film. The first is and will always remain American Beauty, which we told you about some time ago. In reading the plot and the themes I think it will be easy to understand why it is a film that has made its way into the hearts of many since June 30, 2006, the date of its release.
But why are we talking about it in this blog? Some may not find the link, but read to the end and don’t be misled!
Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger released three years before the film, The Devil Wears Prada tells the story of Andy, a recent graduate with high hopes for the future who finds herself working for Miranda Priestley, the editor-in-chief of a prestigious fashion magazine, Runway. But let’s see everything in detail.
Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) arrives in New York City dreaming of joining a prestigious “committed” publication like the New Yorker. But she, in need of work, is “satisfied” with Runway, a fashion magazine in which the editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a sort of tyrannical Anna Wintour, is looking for a new assistant after having done away with the previous ones.
But Andy is not intimidated and her courage earns her a job as second assistant to the Editor in Chief of Runway, an imaginary fashion magazine, which should imitate Vogue.
Andy struggles to stay afloat. Beyond going against his principles, she is not very passionate about this style industry which nevertheless produces billions. The young woman is mocked for her cheap clothes and her naivety, both by Miranda and also by her colleague Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt).
One of the people who seem hardest on her, Nigel Kipling, (Stanley Tucci) will eventually feel sorry for her. Nigel will make her a make-over and will allow Andy to “blend in” a bit in this world, learning its uses and customs.
Andy is as conscientious as she is determined. Her fascination earns her the attention of writer Christian Thompson (Simon Baker) who offers to help her in her career. This is how Andy learns to tap into her nets to meet Miranda’s impossible demands.
As Andy throws himself headlong into work, she detaches herself from her friends and her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier), who do nothing to understand her growth. We will deepen this point also later because it is still relevant today.
From Paris to the conclusion
Andy’s determination and professionalism means that she is chosen in place of Emily to accompany Miranda to Paris. In the Ville Lumière, Andy sleeps with Christian. Early in the morning, he uncovers a plot to have Miranda replaced with Jacqueline Follet.
Andy immediately tries to warn the boss about this, even though she put her through hell. Miranda, already aware of everything, to save her position, she sacrifices her most trusted collaborator, Nigel, to whom she had promised a prestigious position in a fashion house. All this, of course, to preserve her own place.
Satisfied with Andy’s loyalty to her, Miranda informs her that she has a bright future ahead of her. But Andy, disgusted by her boss’s methods, chooses to leave and start working in another magazine again. Her editor-in-chief tells her “I received a fax from Miranda Priestly herself … she says that of all the assistants she’s ever had … you were by far her biggest disappointment . And, if I don’t hire you, I’m an idiot. You must have done something. ”
Andy also meets again her ex-boyfriend, Nate, and the film ends with the two trying to put the pieces back together … maybe. Because this aspect is left to open interpretation. Passing the Runway building, Andy sees Miranda pretending to ignore her. Andy doesn’t take it too seriously and then sinks into the crowd as Miranda smiles smugly in the privacy of her limo.
What are the themes in The Devil Wears Prada?
There are really some very important lessons to be learned from this film, we will summarize them for you.
1- adapt to change. When Andy starts her new job, she has little or no interest in or knowledge of fashion. She is a journalist and does not identify at all with the models of ‘Runway’. She took a big risk taking a job in a new business, but puts a lot of effort into starting to adapt to her new environment. Accepting changes, adapting to changing contexts allows you to gain experience and new skills.
2- List your priorities. This point is valid for any situation. Andy has worked hard to know where to put her energy and focus on the long-term “return on investment”. And this costs her not a little: free time, friendships and love, all things that go a bit in disarray.
3- Always do research. At first Andy struggles because the world of fashion was new to her. But thanks to her determination, she has begun to excel in her responsibilities. The lesson to be learned is this: when you are faced with something new, always do your homework.
4- Trust is the key to success. One of the most fascinating things to watch in the film was Miranda’s attitude. She is talented, powerful and she never doubts what happens to her. Her decision is always up to her because she knows her worth very well and she knows she is irreplaceable.
5- Be nice to colleagues. When starting a new job, Andy would appreciate a helping hand from a colleague. And she finds it in Nigel, but not in Emily, with whom she has a more conflicted relationship.
The successful woman
Although the protagonist of the Devil Wears Prada is undoubtedly Andy Sachs with her personal growth and her problems, it is interesting instead to talk about the dragon lady, the boss of Runway, Miranda Priestley, played by Meryl Streep.
There are some curiosities related to Meryl Streep and the interpretation of the role of the tyrant leader (typical male role in other films). But the world of The Devil Wears Prada is, in fact, a world of women.
Meryl Streep saw the experience as a real ordeal. To best embody the fashion priestess Miranda Priestly, the Oscar winner chose to adopt the “Stanislavskij method”. This technique involves total immersion in your character’s personality to achieve flawless accuracy. Like Joaquin Phoenix in the Joker so to speak.
To do this, Streep stayed away from cast members throughout the entire shoot. “It was awful! I was miserable in my trailer. I could hear them all having fun and laughing,” remembers Meryl Streep in an interview with “Entertainment Weekly”. “I was so depressed! I was like, “Well, that’s the price to pay for being the boss!” . And if you think, how many “asshole” bosses met in our lives were only people who were very lonely and envious of the happiness of others?
The comments of the cast
Other cast members in the film also commented that Meryl Streep had to sacrifice a few moments of sharing. “Meryl is so sociable and so funny, in some ways it wasn’t the funniest thing for her to have to lock herself into her character,” says Emily Blunt, her dedicated assistant in the cult comedy.
Like her colleague, Anne Hathaway also felt the distance created by Meryl Streep. The “Mamma Mia” actress reportedly even “intimidated the young actress on set”. Anne Hathaway qualifies by adding that she has always “felt appreciated” by her colleague. During an episode of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race“, Anne Hathaway revealed that she was warned on the first day of shooting. “Ah, honey, this is the last time I’m nice to you,” Meryl Streep had told her.
She kept her word. But today Miranda Priestly is as much a cult as the star who embodies her. All these themes intersect with a thousand others, including the world of fashion, the relationship with food and with one’s physicality, image, “rapacious” men who would do anything to reach a goal and other important issues.
Why do we love The Devil Wears Prada?
As we said before, it is not a simple “film for girls”, or a “film about fashion” or “a good adaptation of a successful book”. As much as we like fashion, and we have shown it by talking about Alexander McQueen, in this film we talk about something else.
The film has long surpassed the work of Lauren Weisberger, especially thanks to the brilliant interpretations of Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt, not to mention the famous lines and the soundtrack that we have been listening to and repeating in a continuous cycle for 15 years!
However, in the end, in addition to the expressions of Emily Blunt, to the interpretation of Meryl Streep as cold and sarcastic editor-in-chief, to identifying ourselves with the mistreated Andy, The Devil Wears Prada is still very successful for one reason in particular: it is a film about difficulties in being women and in dealing with power.
On the latter issue we also had a debate within the Zoa Studio team, and this makes you understand how current the film is still. Miranda, a woman of power, perhaps behaved as she did because, being from a different generation than Andy’s, she had to be a pioneer woman in a world, that of her time, dominated by men.
Andy certainly has the clearest path in her modernity, however, unlike Miranda, she did not want to compromise and risk becoming like her. The common point is that both women, in order to evolve, had to (or wanted) to sacrifice their private life. And the debate on women, empowerment and work-life balance is still ongoing.
Nothing more to add. The debate is still going on. And that’s probably why we won’t see The Devil Wears Prada 2. As Miranda Priestley would say: That’s all!