Read this and never look at that movie the same way again
I was 15 when The Devil Wears Prada was released in 2006, and longing as soulfully as it is humanly possibly for a 15-year-old to long to work in fashion. I already owned a pot of M.A.C emerald green eye shadow, even.
I went to the cinema three times to see the film, I bought the DVD a few months later and thus began the process of inhaling the movie once every fortnight or so for the next decade.
I still remember the thoughts that coursed through my head when I first saw The Devil Wears Prada and they were thus: Her boyfriend is a chef and cute! I want layered Chanel necklaces! Corn chowder is gross! Fashion is cool! Emily is so annoying! I want to move to New York!
Then, I believed that this movie spoke to me on a deep, guttural level. Now, I realise how wrong I was about some of the most pivotal moments of that movie.
I was reminded of that today when I saw a viral tweet detailing how differently a 17 year old perceives The Devil Wears Prada and a 29 year old perceives it.
Everything @pelin says rings true.
At 17 (or 15, as I was) you watch The Devil Wears Prada blinded and blindsided by cute oufits, cute boys and the glamour of the fashion industry. Having little knowledge or work experience, I looked at Miranda (Meryl Streep) as a cold, antagonising boss and Emily (Emily Blunt) as a difficult, meanspirited colleague.
Today, a (few) years older, I can see how wrong I was. Not only about both Nate (Adrian Grenier) and Simon Baker’s Christian Thompson (both prototypical f**kboys if ever I saw them) but more crucially about Miranda and Emily.
Here are two women both devoted to their jobs, both wildly successful, both leaders in their fields. Their ambition, whether it’s to continue at the helm of the world’s biggest fashion magazine and continue holding the most powerful job in the industry, or to accompany their boss to Paris on a work trip, is displayed openly and without judgment in the film.
So, too, is Andy’s ambition. Her desire to succeed, and through that success, propel forward in her career, is the driving force of the movie, and not her relationship with her (stupid) boyfriend or, quite frankly, useless friends.
The real romantic element in the romantic comedy that is The Devil Wears Prada, if it is indeed a romantic comedy, is between Andy (Anne Hathaway) and her career.
When you watch The Devil Wears Prada older, and a little bit wiser, you realise that Andy’s boyfriend and her friends constantly belittle her success. They aren’t supportive. Remember when Nate makes fun of Andy’s fashion sense when she lands the job at Runway? And remember when he tells her that she’s changed after her Stanley Tucci-orchestrated glow up involving an impeccable roster of colourful coats?
All this, and Andy still tries her best to make time for Nate and her friends, showering them in luxury gifts and juggling the demands of assisting the most powerful woman in fashion with having, you know, a life.
At 15 you don’t realise these things. All you see is a cute boy making you a grilled cheese sandwich and telling you that you need to stop and smell the roses for a bit.
But at 27 you see this move as the controlling, negging, f**kboy behaviour that it really is. This is Nate demanding that Andy put him and his needs before anything else in her life, including but not limited to her career, her ambition, her future and herself. This is bad boyfriend behaviour, and bad man behaviour, too.
Also, @pelin is right. That grilled cheese made from bargain bucket Jarlsberg (couldn’t he have sprung for some nice gruyere, or even a nutty comte?) is burnt.