Sars and I read The Devil Wears Prada during our trip, and we then saw the movie the day it came out. And I haven’t said this about any movie yet, but….

This is the new Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Bridget Jones’ Diary is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I can watch it again and again without wanting to fast-forward at any moment. It’s perfectly cast and the acting and writing are great. But most of all, it was based on a hugely popular book and actually improved upon the book. Immensely. The Devil Wears Prada does the same.

Basically, it’s about a new college graduate named Andy who goes to New York looking for a job in writing and ends up as assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of Runway, the biggest fashion magazine in America. Miranda Priestly is a bitch who gives Andy tasks like, “Get me the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript for my twins to read within the next three hours.” The job sucks, BUT if she works there for a year, she can get a job literally anywhere she wants. And she gets access to tons of designer clothes.

**Spoilers begin here**

The best thing about the film is that the flaws in the book were immediately recognized and cleaned up. Here are some of them:

–In the book, Andy is obsessed with The New Yorker and yearns to work there — but she doesn’t really show signs of being that literary, even though she went to Brown. She doesn’t seem like an intellectual. But the film makes her more journalism-oriented, being the editor-in-chief of the newspaper at Northwestern. It’s more believable.

–In the book, Miranda Priestly is young and a size zero. But I had such a hard time picturing her that way (probably because I knew it would be Meryl Streep). But she was too young, and too tiny. (I can’t imagine a tiny size zero being that intimidating, even if she is wearing Jimmy Choos). Meryl Streep fits the role perfectly, being an attractive woman in her fifties and pretty tall as well.

–The whole alcoholic Lily storyline is removed, which is contrived and predictable in the book.

–Miranda Priestly is shrieking and shrill, always yelling at Andy, in the book. But in the movie, Meryl Streep does it PERFECTLY by being soft-spoken. Yelling doesn’t make someone more intimidating! After all, who’s scarier — a guy running around in a ski mask with a chainsaw or Robin Williams’ character in One Hour Photo or Insomnia?

–FASHION!! It was nice to see the outfits. Andy can describe her brown suede Gucci pants over and over in the book, but seeing a two-second clip of a her in a head-to-toe Chanel outfit does infinitely more than any words can do.

–Miranda Priestly was portrayed as being too “arch” in the book — she was too evil, without any other dimensions. The book gave no indication that she knew anything about fashion. But with the monologue Miranda gives about Andy’s cerulean sweater at the beginning of the movie, she immediately establishes herself as a fashion authority. And when Miranda finds out in Paris that she’s getting another divorce and appears in front of Andy without wearing any makeup (it’s scary to see her like that), it really humanizes her.

The only problems I had with the movie:

–Alex’s name is changed to Nate for some reason (and I thought I’d mention that I have identical twin cousins named Nate and Alex). And casting Adrien Grenier?! When I heard he’d be in the movie, I thought he’d be perfect for Christian, the slick, sexy writer! He fits that role much better than the geeky but adorable, doting boyfriend.

–Alex/Nate is a sous-chef instead of a Teach for America teacher in the Bronx. I liked him as a teacher in a rough neighborhood not only because one of my best friends is in Teach for America now, but also because it provided a foil to Andy’s job.

–Anne Hathaway was PERFECT for her role as Andy from the neck up, but I had no idea she was so tall and skinny! Although they gave her a little bit of padding for the earlier scenes, she ends up 5’10” and 120 lbs. in an Oscar de la Renta gown. Thankfully, she looks like an average girl glammed up, which is how she looked in the face. But she looked like a model! That was wrong.

**Spoilers end here**

Overall, this was a GREAT movie based on a REALLY GOOD book. Please read and/or see it so we can talk about it!! I can only talk to Sars so much!

But I have one thing left to say. The most important lesson that I learned in my fiction classes at Fairfield was this quote, either made by Dr. White or implied otherwise: “Just because it happened like that, it doesn’t mean it makes great fiction.” Absolutely, 100%. I had to spend some time explaining that to my mother when I based a story I wrote on an anecdote she told me from when I was little.

Anyways, the author (it’s so bad that I can’t remember her name!) was an assistant to Anna Wintour at Vogue, and Miranda Priestly is based on her. I think that the author tried hard to be true to Anna — but the truth is that Anna is the exception, not the norm. She’s younger and she’s a bitch, but from what I’ve read, she’s a caricature of herself. Great material for a nonfiction piece, but the author took it too far for believable fiction.

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