TBT Review – The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 2 out of 5.

It’s the end of the year and I had wanted to make this post a special one. After all, it was my last film of the year. Depending on your thought process, it might also be the final film I watch in this decade. So, did I put loads of effort into finding the perfect film? No. I just watched the first thing that I could find on Prime. I needed something to stick on when I was cleaning and this seemed easy. In fact, it was such easy watching that I forgot that I was meant to be cleaning. Thankfully, I managed to get things sorted just in time for the end of the year. Starting 2021 being all organised and clean? Could this possibly be the start of the new me? I doubt it but it’s always fun to dream.

I know that I’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada before but, somehow, I seem to have missed the opening sequence. I swear this was the first time I’d seen it. The film starts with Andy, played by Anne Hathaway, in a getting ready montage alongside various fashion girls. In it, Andy is seen doing the opposite of her more fashionable counterparts. Where they spend time doing their make-up, picking their clothes, and making their breakfast, Andy does whatever she wants. It just made me angry because, for a film that at one point defends the fashion industry, it clearly favours Andy. The opening seems to suggest that she is somehow better because she doesn’t waste her time thinking about how she looks.

What is also apparent is that making a film about the fashion industry is super risky. Watching this 14 years later and I can’t believe what these people were wearing. Some of Hathaway’s looks are absolutely ridiculous. I know that early 00s fashion was all pretty awkward but this is too much. It’s also weird to think there were people out there celebrating how feminist this film was. It just goes to show how dreadful the output for women was back then because this is hardly an empowering film. Maybe you can argue that the ending is powerful but, really, there are no role models here. At the very least, it passed the Bechdel test but we’ve moved on since then.

It’s not that this film is terrible but it’s hard to understand why this has such a good reputation. All of the characters are awful and the narrative isn’t great. Especially watching it at the end of 2020. I doubt the people who’ve lost a job due to Covid would have much sympathy for an entitled wannabe journalist moaning when easily she got a job she wasn’t qualified for. There is also not quite as much viciousness here. As a film that’s supposed to pull back the curtain on the fashion industry, it all seems a bit tame. The story is just quite dull and the same kind of thing we’ve seen before. I find it hard to understand why people love this film so much.

Although I don’t. It’s because of Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt. The two actors are much better in their roles than this film deserves. Streep brings depth to the one-dimensional Miranda and Blunt is just a lot of fun. I guess Stanley Tucci is pretty enjoyable too but he’s basically just playing someone we’ve seen before. Without these three, there isn’t much to write home about. Anne Hathaway is just flat and not memorable in the main role. She either didn’t care or wasn’t confident enough for this job.

It’s not that The Devil Wears Prada is a bad film or that it’s not watchable. It’s a fine way to pass the time but it’s not exactly going to set your world on fire. It mostly just feels flat and awkward. In the last 14 years, the film hasn’t aged well. If it hadn’t been for Meryl Streep’s performance, I doubt this film would have gained the reputation it currently has.

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