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Author Topic: OSC's review of The Devil Wears Prada
Member # 3162

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I'm pretty stunned that he liked it. True, it was the perfect role for Streep. But I thought it was a reprehensible movie full of reprehensible people. There was really not one single likeable person in this film. The little morality play about Hathaway losing her focus on what's really important was trite, predictable, and muddled--muddled because she didn't really do any of the things that people held against her, she just had a hyperdeveloped sense of guilt.

I was also surprised to see OSC refer to it as a romantic comedy. It was? Is that seriously how they are billing it? Where's the romance? You hardly ever see the boyfriend. The only romancing is done by the fling. And where was the comedy? I laughed out loud once, maybe, in the whole film.

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I think the book handles the losing the focus part better. But most people aren't looking to see that Weisburger did put a point in her novel- just the dirt.
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Orson Scott Card
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Come on. The Stanley Tucci character is very sympathetic. The people who are unlikeable are generally that way for a reason - I know each type they represented and I found them fascinating and, underneath the facades they used to make their lives bearable, I found wonderful human vulnerabilities. They're only despicable if you take them at face value; but the film actually gives us a chance to meet them at a deeper level.

And since I know lots of people who HAVEN'T learned the lesson about losing focus on what's really important. So it might be trite, but not because everybody already lives by that lesson.

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Member # 3162

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Stanley Tucci's character was the most entertaining and interesting character in the movie--I'll give you that much. He was sympathetic at the end, when he was getting shafted. But he was also snide and demeaning and totally bought into that "loathsome nightmare" of the fashion world. Maybe this makes him the most realized or developed character in the movie. Certainly he delivered a great performance.

But when I asked myself if I would want to be friends with any single character in this movie, the answer was an easy "no." Now, one could purposely go about making a comedy about loathsome people where we are supposed to loathe and laugh at them, but when I feel that way about the characters who are allegedly the good guys, like Andy and her friends, including her boyfriend, then I think the movie has failed in some way--even if only in failing to reach me.

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lynn johnson
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Icarus, I have to confess I actually liked Miranda by the end. Yes, she was reprehensible, but how else would one become the editor of such a magazine? And I did like the Tucci character very much. I enjoyed his needling Hathaway. I laughed at the gag about the purse and coat. It wasn't a deep movie, but I had fun, and I was glad Card liked it. Would I want to hang? Sure, but I'd prefer looking at the characters behind a one-way mirror. Keep 'em at a distance.
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Member # 9584

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Was that really Orson Scott Card? And if it is, why didn't he weigh in on my topic about American Beauty? I suppose there are a couple of possibilities: 1) he felt he had said all he had to say about the topic already, or 2) he felt that my argument was rock solid and unassailable [Hail] [Taunt]
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El JT de Spang
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Yes, and my guess is (3) didn't have time to wade through all the posts to offer up his answer.
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Don't mistake the lack of response by any member of this forum as an implicit agreement to your points. There are a number of reasons that anyone may not wish to begin or continue an exchange. Just because someone doesn't respond or continue responding doesn't mean you 'win' by forfeit [Smile]
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Member # 3162

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lynn, there were a lot of good slams, especially from Tucci, but they were nasty. Now, I'm not so touchy-feely that I can't enjoy nasty slams, but I stand by my assessment that there just wasn't a character there who was sympathetic enough to carry a movie for me. The wickedly funny mostly-jerk is indeed wickedly funny, and would not have detracted from the movie if the movie had had a more likeable central character, but it was not enough to fill the void left by the absence of such a character.
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Wow, that's amazing, Ic. I loved The Devil Wears Prada, though it wasn't so much because it was supposedly funny...more that I really loved the characters. Especially Miranda.

SPOILERS FOLLOW....you've been warned.

Remember that scene at the beginning when everyone is scurrying around trying to prepare the office for Miranda's arrival? My first thought, instantaneous, was that she must be a hell of a manager to have her people that well trained. She must be clear about what she wants and how she wants it AND she must give sufficient benefits to those employees such that they actually want to work there. That, IMO, is the mark of a very good manager. But I was also instantly aware, with a sense of bemusement, that the scene's purpose was to show us what a tyrant she must be.

Even the part where she has Andy work to get the impossible book for her twins. I'm convinced she wouldn't have asked for it if she didn't have some belief Andy could actually get the book -- there were at least two points to the exercise: make Andy stretch her resources and learn where her actual limits are AND test her loyalty to the job. Both of which are not bad management at all. Miranda seems like a dragon lady, but you have to notice that she brings out the best work from her people. She's not sadistic..there is an actual point to her behavior and it is clear at the end that that point is total devotion to the utmost quality of the magazine. I would work for someone like that. Even with those quirks.

That said, the scene where she betrays Stanley Tucci's character I felt was a bit out of character for Miranda. Not startlingly so....I think an argument could be made for good management reasons why she hurt Tucci like she did, but I think the Miranda I was seeing would have gone to him just prior and said something cryptic like "I will make this up to you." -- Perhaps she didn't feel it was necessary because Tucci himself said as much. Only Andy was unsure. This tells me that she must have at other times been lavish in her rewards for the excellent work she requires.

Overall, for me, the movie was a primer in first jobs. Sometime during a person's first REAL job, especially in the corporate world, I think we all have to come to the question Andy faced: What is really important to me and what am I willing to sacrifice to get it? That's a question I've had to answer a lot of times over the years in balancing family with work, largely because I've been blessed with work I love to do. And I've had managers not quite as quirky as Miranda but every bit demanding -- I regard those former bosses with a significant amount of respect, especially the most demanding boss I ever had, a Wharton MBA who taught me an amazing amount of stuff in the 5 years I worked for him.

Anyway, the movie was full of people I thought were very real. They weren't cardboard cutouts. Miranda wasn't the Wicked Stepmother to Andy's Cinderella. Her demands had a purpose. And the sacrifice she made for what was important to her was very real. Was it one I think is right and good and worthwhile? No way. But I can appreciate that it wasn't one dimensional -- I know lots of people who have gone to just that threshold and had to make the same decision.

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Hmmm, the only character I liked in the movie was Miranda, and I almost cried (ok, yeah, I was getting weirdly teary-eyed) at the part where she was left alone at the end and she goes on like she had been doing all her life.

But the rest of the movie I didn't feel any connection to whatsoever. Especially because they mention Andy's getting accepted into smartpeople programs at school (don't remember the specifics) and the only thing to back up her Smart was them mentioning that. She repeatedly did stupid things, did not try hard for the job that she got anyway, and somehow her mistakes brought her forward in her life and career. That made me twitch. I found the movie rather predictable, too :-/

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