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The Weekly Watch: Gird Your Loins!
"By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me."
For the first couple of years after leaving my job as a New York City magazine editor to move to my now-beloved town of Charlottesville, Virginia, I couldn’t watch movies in any way related to the industry. It was just too painful. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? Heck no. 13 Going on 30? Uh-uh. Trainwreck, Never Been Kissed, Almost Famous, or Shattered Glass? Pass. The Horse Whisperer? Pushing it!
It was only a few months ago that I suddenly felt ready to revisit the wildly exaggerated and overly represented universe of magazines in cinema. With our kids along for the ride, we dove straight into the deep end, with the glossiest, cattiest, most cartoonish—and yet oh-so-revealing—magazine movie of all time: The Devil Wears Prada (2006; Paramount+, or rent it for $3.99 on Apple TV or YouTube).
All four of us had a blast. Prada was adapted from Lauren Weisberger’s roman à clef by one of my all-time favorite Elle dinner party tablemates, Aline Brosh McKenna (ah, my old life!), and this movie has so much of so much. At the core of the story is the evolving relationship between bookish assistant Andy, played by superstar-mode Anne Hathaway and title demon Miranda Priestly, the tyrannical editor in chief of Runway magazine, unforgettably portrayed by Meryl Streep, who puts an Oscar-nominated spin on Vogue sovereign Anna Wintour. Outrageous characters swirl around our central duo (Emily Blunt’s fashion-Kool-Aid-drinking fellow assistant is perhaps still the best performance of her career) as do over-the-top clothes (with a dazzling makeover scene, natch). Amid beaucoup delicious one-liners and plot twists that will make you go what?!, Prada also musters a ton of heart as Andy learns the depths of her boss, herself, and what it means to be a grownup in the working world as she navigates both the corporate ladder and her relationship with a Drive Me Crazy–level dreamy Adrian Grenier and the rest of their gaggle of non-industry friends. Speaking of supporting characters, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Stanley Tucci’s bitchy-warm art director, Nigel, here—the movie wouldn’t work half as well without Tucci’s magic touch.
This turned out to be a high-yield pick on the family conversation front, too: Not only did then-14-year-old H.B. momentarily express interest in a career as a fashion exec and 10-year-old L.B. as a wardrobe stylist, we all enjoyed discussions about the American workplace; bosses (bad, good, and the underdiscussed possibility that bosses, as humans, can be a combination of both); the responsibilities and freedoms involved in nonmarital, early-20s relationships; and—again this week—consent, thanks to a scene in which slimy older journo Christian (Simon Baker) steals a kiss from our protagonist. (Because it’s my job, I’ll forewarn you that there’s also not-so-subtle evidence of an ostensibly consensual sleepover between the two.)
In the immortal words of Miranda Priestly, That’s all.