THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA – Devilishly good

WELCOME TO the dizzying world of New York fashion, the cut-throat industry that takes no prisoners. In The Devil Wears Prada we get a privileged insight into the world of fashion journalism. Be prepared to read Vogue in a whole new light!

Andrea Sachs (Hathaway) is a recent university graduate, who gets a job as an assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestly (Streep). Miranda dominates the fashion world from her perch atop Runway magazine, a Vogue-like magazine that is the industry bible.

Initially, Miranda expects Sachs to be the latest addition to a long line of assistants that haven’t made the cut, however Sachs has something the rest of them don’t: she refuses to fail. For Sachs, the job is merely a stepping stone to what she hopes will be a serious journalistic career and she is prepared to go to great lengths to further it, even deal with the immense character that is Priestly.

To become the perfect assistant, Andy replicates Miranda’s image. Soon, much to her boyfriend’s dismay, she can talk the talk, walk the walk and never again confuse Dolce with Gabbana. However, the more of life she sees through Miranda’s eyes, the more she begins to grasp that Miranda’s world is a fabulous, but lonely one. She learns that sometimes great success depends on great sacrifice and realises that she must decide what is most important – her good values or her new sense of power.

Based on the Lauren Weisburger novel, the film is a big screen Sex in the City and essentially a tale of morality. Meryl Streep, sporting a silvery bob, is the star of the production and plays the Cruella de Ville style character to perfection. She is eccentric, humiliating, harsh and hilarious all at the same time.

The plot moves quickly and aims to dazzle you with shoes, brand names and glamorous locations. It is predictable, but still manages to be very funny and is well made and very well acted. Stanley Tucci is fresh and appealing as Miranda’s gay advisor and Emily Blunt shows off impressive comic timing as the desperate first assistant.

As for the devil herself, Streep plays it cool, creating a striking, cobra-like, soft-spoken tyrant, who moves and speaks in a minimalist fashion, like a queen who cannot be expected to waste any excess energy on trifles. She puts together a wholly believable, subtle portrait of a bitch who lives in her own world, who lies to herself about what she does and why she does it.

Furthermore, she makes the character far more complex than the image portrayed in the novel. It is widely believed that the character is based on real life Vogue editor Anne Wintour. Interestingly, Wintour has shunned the movie and refused to let the magazine print a word of editorial about the production. Others have followed suit, however this has made little impact on the film’s popularity and credibility worldwide.

Streep’s modern take on the villainess makes this fashion satire more than your average chick flick, ensuring that The Devil Wears Prada will go down as one of the most refreshing comedies of 2006.

RATING: * * *

*   missable

* *   reasonable

* * *   entertaining

* * * *   very good

* * * * * outstanding