I didn’t expect to like the movie Devil Wears Prada. I read and reviewed the book but as you might expect, I’m a fan of indie films.
Sure enough, when I finally saw the DVD, I didn’t like the movie, but not for the reasons I expected. Meryl Streep steals the show as the killer boss. But she comes across not as mean but as someone who’s trying to put her assistant to the test. Anne Hathaway wasn’t as bad as I’d expected.
No, the real problem was in the writing. Andrea (played by Hanne Hathaway) accepts the job as assistant to Miranda (played by Meryl Streep), killer editor of Runway magazine. Miranda is a destructive bully boss. Andrea is a brand-new journalism graduate who can’t get a job on a “real” newspaper. Her boyfriend wants to be a chef.
Andrea takes the job. Coworker Nigel tells her to stop whining and start doing the job. When she does, she’s pretty darn good. She anticipates Miranda’s demands. She develops some fashion sense. She gets calls to drop everything and come to work. Her friends think she’s nuts. They say things like, “You’re not the same person.”
Spoilers ahead. But it’s not a big deal. This movie is Hollywood-predictable.
And then she gets a special plum assignment, bypassing another coworker. She feels guilty. She discovers Miranda’s maneuvers will hurt the coworkers she likes. So she quits to go work for a newspaper. She goes back to her boyfriend. She says she wants to be her old self.
Cue the career consultant!
Sorry, folks: you really can’t go home again. Andrea’s different.
Maybe it’s a killer job, but that’s not the same as a dead-end job. Remember the Cathy Goodwin mantra. Think marketable.
Andrea was learning. She was making contacts that would be valuable. This story may be extreme, but when you’re in a growth phase, you have to give up a lot of social contacts. Friends don’t tell friends, “You’re crazy to be doing this job.”
Andrea had nothing to apologize for. She was smart to take a chance and to go all-out to give the fashion world a try. She won’t be the same. She’s learned too much.
Alas, the script’s ending is old-style predictable Hollywood. Andrea gets to hold her head (and maybe her nose) and take a job with a newspaper. Do we really believe she’ll find a selfless, apolitical group of coworkers there? Will she be shocked when she’s chosen over a coworker for a plum reporting assignment?
Meryl Streep is just fine, but Parker Posey would have been a better Andrea. And I wish they’d hire a career consultant for some of these movies.