BY PATRICIA DRAZNIN
In The Devil Wears Prada, the cute, unstylish girl-next-doorAndy (Anne Hathaway) gets hired for the job that any girl would kill for—ifit didn’tkill her first. Second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the czarof Runway magazine who eats assistants for breakfast, Andy is expected to worklong New York hours performing the impossible.
Through the large brown eyes of the shell-shocked young Andy, we plungeinto the snooty mindset of the fashion elite who spout designer-speakon the trends of Chanel and Dior as freely as the rest of us discuss lunch—whichis something Runway girls dare not consume lest they outgrow their sizezero, which is the new two.
Based on the bestselling novel by Lauren Weisberger, this refreshing comedyshowcases fabulous clothing, fashion trivia, and fascinating charactersthat steal the show. Stanley Tucci plays the perfectly snobby Nigel, Miranda’sright-hand man, who delivers rich monologues about the power of Runway to navigate haute couture, and who initiates Andy out of her fashion virginity.But above all, the film belongs to Streep.
As editor and dictator of fashion’s foremost publication, Mirandaspeaks in run-on sentences that carry 12 unrelated tasks. Streep’sunderstated portrayal commands absolute authority without ever raisingher voice. All she has to do is show up. And show up is what she does inspades. Dressed to kill and sporting a gorgeous gray hairdo that meansbusiness, Miranda keeps everyone jumping even in their sleep, with thewave of the hand or the quiet phrase of dismissal, “That’sall.”
Prada carried me full speed until the end, when I found myself disagreeingwith some of the story’s implications, which I will not spoil foryou. All the same, this film provides a wealth of humor and colorful entertainmentfor women and men alike, even if you don’t speak Prada.