30
Oct 06

From Westwood To Hollywood*

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 667 views

cruella-de-prada.jpgThe Devil Wears Prada is a pretty toothless satire of the fashion industry. So toothless that it is almost an apologia for it, instead heaping most of its scorn on its cruel fictional villain***. What is much more interesting in this tug between principles and glamour is what the film has to say about friends. Andi, played by Anne Hathaway, is part of a clique of four (as ever): her boyfriend the sous chef, a investment chap who knows a lot about fashion, and her art gallery curating mate. But rarely in the film are this gang supportive – with perhaps the exception of the investment chap who the film wants to suggest could be secretly gay but can’t be arsed (the film or the character).

The period of life Andi is going through is notoriously tough on friendships. Your friends from home, friends from University, do not always survive the new working you. And at the end of the film when Andi comes through stronger, she appears to have done it without her friends. Which is a pity but not unusual. And she has, sort of, gained a friend too (Emily Blunt writing herself a big paycheck for her next film).

Why does any of this matter? In the film it matters because what appears to be the films subject matter does not really work. Yet it is a thoroughly entertaining (and expertly edited) film. So I want it to have some sort of heft to it. To me, it mattered because I was in Andi’s position in my first job. The job from heaven that came at too high a price. And I remember my friends supporting me, and not being too heavy on the didactic advice. Of course in my situation when I jacked in the seemingly perfect job at MTV, I faced eighteen months of not getting another TV job and then changing careers. Andi walks into a new, better job. But hey, it’s a film – and perhaps that should be the moral too. Never take careers advice from a Hollywood film.

*Of the name designers mentioned over and over again in TDWP, Vivienne is notable in her absence. One imagines that she is not the kind of person on the gagging list at the end of the film who would only work with the she-devil** that is Streep.

**Not the Streep that is in She-Devil. Well the same person, but she didn’t play the She-Devil in She-Devil.

***The only way she could be crueler would be to be Cruella.

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