My wife and I ducked into the movies the other day to see “The Devil Wears Prada”. My expectations were low. I expected a “chick flick” and hoped it would at least be funny. It was not only funny but also insightful. Not a masterpiece but definitely worth seeing. It’s the story of a naive midwestern journalism graduate (played by Anne Hathaway) who stumbles into a job as executive assistant to the editor in chief of a top fashion magazine. Meryl Streep does a diva turn as “The Devil”. She’s nasty, insensitive and throws a lot of elbows but for all that, you still are interested in her and even care about her. With apologies to the Rolling Stones, you have sympathy for the devil.
At the start of the movie the young woman’s priorities are clearly her boyfriend, her family and her aspiration to be a serious journalist. Before long though, she begins to succcumb to the “blandishments of evil”. The oversized sweaters and lumpy shoes give way to high glam outfits from the corporate closet. She discovers that flying first class to Paris is a lot nicer than taking the subway into the City.
The driving question of the movie is whether ambition will get the best of the young woman and whether she will truly become the protege of “the devil”. It’s a light, funny movie but behind the laughter it asks some of the questions that real people deal with every day. Not whether to wear Prada or Sears. But what comes first: family or the job? And can you retain your values while succeeding in business.