Over the past 11 years, I’ve honestly lost track the amount of times I’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada film. It was released into theaters in June 2006. When I was 13, I remember going to the theater to see this dramedy film with my mom. Sure this isn’t exactly a teenager friendly movie. Most of my life, my taste in TV shows, movies, and music hasn’t been quite conventional. Let alone appropriate for my age group. Hell I was watching Friends and Tonight Show with Jay Leno when I was a teenager.
The Devil Wears Prada is based off the 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger. After I saw the movie, I was curious to read the novel. Drastically different from the film adaptation in many ways besides changing some of the sub-plots details. There are so many other differences. Most importantly, Miranda Priestly’s character are two entirely different interpretations in the book versus film. Yet, I honestly don’t mind the drastic changes made for the film adaptation.
The cast ensemble for The Devil Wears Prada is simply brilliant. Meryl Streep plays the leading role of Miranda Priestly, Runway magazine’s editor-in-chief. Anne Hathaway plays the role of Andrea “Andy” Sachs, junior assistant to Miranda. Emily Blunt plays the role of Emily Charlton, senior assistant Miranda. Stanley Tucci plays the role of Nigel Kipling, Runway’s creative art director. Also, there are plenty of fascinating supporting minor characters from Andy’s work and personal lives. The Devil Wears Prada formed my appreciation for Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci as I hardly watched any of their previous film works. My main motivation to see this film was Anne Hathaway. I’ve been a longtime fan of her since The Princess Diaries in 2001. I went into the movie theater to see The Devil Wears Prada with an open-mind. Not surprisingly I thoroughly enjoyed this dramedy film.
Every re-watch of The Devil Wears Prada I always find interesting nuances within the plot arc and character development. Miranda Priestly doesn’t have as many lines compared to Andrea Sachs. Yet, Miranda’s character is quite different from the novel. In the film adaptation, Miranda is a ruthless editor-in-chief but still has a heart. Her treatment of her Runway employees and fellow subordinates in the fashion industry isn’t nearly as psychologically or emotionally abusive. Miranda even expresses emotional vulnerability in few scenes with her junior assistant, Andy. What makes Miranda’s character development brilliant is the subtleties in terms of her mannerisms when interacting with other characters within work and home settings. Meryl Streep’s different spin on the villainous Miranda Priestly was spectacularly refreshing.
It’s safe to say I’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada at least 15 times over the past 11 years. With each re-watch, I’ve had interesting revelations about aspects of the plot and characters as I get older. Being older, I have a different perspective of the world I live in. There are few things that especially stand out to me.
First, Andy changes her mindset of the fashion industry after many months of working her demanding job at Runway magazine. During her time at Runway, Andy’s eyes are open to all the possibilities out there in the fashion industry. Her perspective of fashion industry isn’t the only thing that changes. Her fashion sense quickly evolves from frumpy college graduate to chic New York City career woman.
Her friends and boyfriend see this fashion evolution as becoming too materialistic and narcissistic. No longer interested in spending time with her loved ones. Junior assistant to Miranda Priestly is an intense job that requires more time commitment. Not your typical 9-5 pm Monday to Friday job. It does involve extra hours outside of the office and even sacrificing your weekend. This was Andy’s first job right after graduating college. Sometimes you must do not as ideal jobs to reach your career goals. Andy was willing to put in the extra hours.
Her friends and boyfriend give Andy crap for prioritizing her job over them. This really pisses me off. Andy is trying to jump start her career as a journalist and the stepping stones to get there will not always be most ideal. But you’ve got to give her credit for making the best of a job that has crazy long hours and constant stress. Work and personal life balance isn’t easy to achieve when you’re starting your career right out f college. Yet, Andy doesn’t forget where she came from despite her demanding, stressful job. She always finds ways to spend time with her friends and boyfriend when there are small pockets of available time.
Plus, her friends and boyfriend viewed her slight personality change as a negative thing. I personally believe people will change over the years. Some change isn’t always for the worst. Honestly, you don’t see either her “friends” or boyfriend be supportive of her demanding job. Andrea doesn’t need people in her life that drag her down or hold her back from living her life to the fullest. Worse of all, they make her feel guilty for changing too much. Lily, Doug, and Alex are all selfish assholes. In my honest opinion, she really needs to find a new crowd to hang out with. A group of people who support her and accept it is okay for people to change over time. I am well-aware how this analysis is very unpopular opinion.
Second, the beautiful evolution of the work relationship between Miranda and Andrea. Initially, Miranda is quite skeptical if Andy can perform all aspects of the demanding and stressful role as her junior assistant. Miranda doesn’t think she will last long. Andy works extra hard to prove herself as junior assistant. She even adapts well to the fast-pace work environment at Runway magazine. Andrea transforms from an caterpillar to a blossoming butterfly.
Miranda gives Andy the golden ticket to many elite social events in the fashion industry in New York and abroad in Paris. Andy grabs these opportunities and gains new perspective of the world. This includes incredible networking with influential people in the world of fashion as well. There are glamorous aspects to working as Miranda Priestly’s junior assistant.
Miranda notices Andrea’s evolution since starting as her junior assistant. She is very impressed by Andy’s work ethic and ambitions. Most of all, Miranda only shows emotional vulnerability around Andrea. I’m sure not even her family sees her express such emotional vulnerability. She is almost always seen wearing an intimidating facial expression. Her accomplishments have earned her high esteem and respect in the fashion world. Miranda pushes her employees because she knows they will always come through and deliver in the end. Runway didn’t become the world’s most influential fashion magazine without blood, sweat, and tears. Miranda is disappointed when Andrea quits Runway but give an outstanding recommendation for her next job at another publishing company. Miranda Priestly grew fond and came to respect Andrea Sachs.
Third, the changes in characterization and storylines worked out to improve the film adaptation as a whole. I read The Devil Wears Prada novel many years ago. Also, this isn’t a teenager-friendly book. Way more sexual innuendos and profanity from start to finish. The film adaptation is rather tame in many aspects. I enjoyed the novel yet I wouldn’t classify it as one of my favorite books. By the way, Lauren Weisberger came out with a sequel. Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns came out in June 2013. (Random note: Four years ago, I bought this sequel novel at small bookstore in Rotterdam airport. But I have yet to have read it in full entirety. I’ll eventually get around to it.) The Devil Wears Prada film adaptation took the book source material and elevated it to an entirely new level of awesomeness. It explored fascinating nuances that weren’t touch on much in the novel. The character development contributed to making the movie’s storylines even more appealing. In fact, it is one of my all-time favorite films.
I don’t know much about current fashion trends or workings of the fashion world. Yet, The Devil Wears Prada appeals to a wide audience and age group. Plenty of heart and soul in the storylines. I appreciate it when a movie effectively uses subtleties rather than placing unnecessary dialogue between characters into a scene. But it takes the right actor to properly execute such subtle emotions. The incredible cast ensemble especially Meryl, Anne, Emily, and Stanley brought their complex characters to life. The Devil Wears Prada will never get old no matter how many times I re-watch it.