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Blog // Artistry
October 17, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada is a fun film. But, in its best moments, it also contains some telling cultural criticism as well.

The following is an email I just sent to the BBC, in response to hearing Mark Kermode’s review of The Devil Wears Prada, on podcast.

I’m a regular listener to the Podcast Edition of Mark Kermode’s film reviews. Normally I agree with most reviews, but with The Devil Wears Prada, I had to take exception.

The absence of biting satire leads the good doctor (Mark Kermode) to conclude that the film must be intended for a teenage audience. But maybe the lack of such satire sits well with a more mature reading of the film?

In a critical scene in the film, Andy Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway), mocks the editorial team of Runway as they try to decide between two almost identically coloured belts. Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep), has an extended monologue on the particular shade of Sachs’ jumper. Priestly makes Sachs objection look juvenile and asinine and makes it clear that whilst one can mock fashion, one cannot escape it’s effects on the everyday products in our culture.

When seen in the light of the dramatic climax (the Paris trip), it’s clear one can either embrace fashion as Priestly does, or reject it, as Sachs does in the end, but one cannot escape it. This is a lesson not just for adolescents but for many adults as well, who despite trying to be countercultural, end up being uncritical consumers of fashion in the same forms presented in Devil Wears Prada.

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