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Miranda Priestly: You have no sense of fashion.
Andrea "Andy" Sachs: I think that depends on...
Miranda Priestly: No, no. That wasn't a question.
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The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006 film directed by David Frankel and starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. It is an adaptation of the 2003 novel of the same name by Lauren Weisberger.

It tells the story of a young woman named Andrea "Andy" Sachs (Hathaway). Her first job out of college is as personal assistant to a merciless New York fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestly (Streep). With help from Miranda's assistant Emily (Emily Blunt) and art director Nigel (Stanley Tucci), Andy starts to work her way up the ladder... but at what cost?


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This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Elderly Mother: Mid-to-late 50's Miranda (Streep was 57 at the time the movie came out) has twins that appear to be elementary school age (though the actresses were actually 14 at the time). Not impossible, but still noticeable.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Andy considers it a great breakthrough when Miranda starts calling her by her own name.
  • Adaptational Dumbass:
    • While Miranda in the books is described as entitled and oblivious, she's not one to battle with the forces of nature. When her flight from Miami to New York was canceled, it was because of other circumstances and she got a morning flight within a few hours, and Emily managed to get her the one she wanted. In the movie, Miranda seriously thinks that Andy can get her a flight in the middle of a hurricane. When Andy fails, Miranda chews her out for being a failure, even though this time it wasn't Andy's fault.
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    • Book-Andy has this about her attitude in the office. In the books, it's established that no one can be snippy or snarky in Miranda's presence, and Book-Andy has enough sense to keep her mouth shut most of the time. Book-Emily does say that Book-Andy has an attitude, but Book-Miranda doesn't see that as a firing offense, just a sign of immaturity. Movie-Andy is too honest about her derision. She tells Nigel on day one of her job that she's not going to be in fashion forever so it's okay if her clothes are "hideous". Nigel tells her You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!, that everyone has to be prepared. Andy also makes the mistake of snickering at the two belts with the dress while taking notes. Miranda notices, gives her a withering Death Glare, as well as a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how fashion affects everyone, no matter what a person wears.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Movie-Andy has fewer passive-aggressive moments about spending corporate dollars on petty things like Starbucks coffee for the homeless, taxi’s and town cars. Also, she keeps saying no to Christian and receives a peck on the cheek rather than engage in infidelity. Finally, she's not a chain smoker.
      • While Andy is given millions of dollars in free clothes in both versions because she works at a fashion company, in the book everyone who works at Runway is giving her free clothes and tips on how to get new free clothes. They did it out of worry for her and they also tried to be nice so she wouldn’t feel hurt. In the movie Andy ASKS Nigel for his help. She has no one else to turn too and she still gets made fun of for being a size six. The clothes still beautiful and amazing but in the end she gives her Paris wardrobe to Emily.
    • Movie-Miranda is a lot less evil than book-Miranda, and more aware of things like illness affecting her assistants and trying to be a good parent. Among other things, the scene in the limo where Miranda reveals that she gave Andy a glowing recommendation is not in the book at all.
      • Movie-Miranda is a person with weaknesses that she hides best as she can, and is something of an Evil Mentor to Andy. Book-Miranda's most human scene is what Andy reads on her Wikipedia page, making her a character in her own universe; she is not a person, she is the soulless, thankless crushing machine of capitalism.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Andrea, blonde (like author Lauren Weisberger) in the book, is played by the lovely dark-haired Anne Hathaway in the film.
  • Adaptational Nationality: The British Miranda becomes American, while ironically American Emily becomes British as played by Emily Blunt. Both were the result of the actresses playing them refusing to do accents for their roles (even though Streep is otherwise well-known for putting on accents).
  • Adapted Out: James, one of the gay designers who is extremely nice to Andy and always has a pep talk for her and Emily. He is mentioned a few times in the movie though.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Downplayed with Andy's boyfriend, and mostly because of Andy's Adaptational Nice Girl. While she eventually all but checks out of the relationship in both book and movie as she dedicates more and more time to the job; the things she forgets, ignores or cancels in the book are slightly more serious than in the movie. Also in the book, Alex only agrees to a break, while Nate breaks up outright with Andy in the movie.
    • Nigel and Emily are much meaner to Andy than they are in the book, where Emily and Andy start to become allies against Miranda's insanity and support each other.
  • Adaptational Personality Change:
    • Book Lily was The Alcoholic and Really Gets Around, encouraging Andy to cheat on Alex with Christian since the latter is good-looking. Movie Lily is essentially Joanne from RENT, responsible, young and chews out Andy for letting Christian kiss her.
    • Book Nigel is a Nice Guy with No Indoor Voice, who offers assistance to Andy but doesn't serve as a mentor. Movie Nigel is a Deadpan Snarker Jerkass who makes a lot of Brutal Honesty points to Andy about how she doesn't care about her job, though he still helps her out when she asks for a makeover as a beginning point in taking her job more seriously.
    • Andy's parents in the book are a Reasonable Authority Figure pair who support Andy's decision to write and build a career while expecting her to be there for family and worrying about the job changing her. In the movie her dad, who is helping with Andy's rent, takes Andy to task for not going to Stanford Law in favor of pursuing journalism and then becoming an underpaid assistant.
  • An Aesop: Despite some moral ambiguity in the film at large one could definitely take a main Aesop of the film as being to learn as much as you can from every professional experience. While Andy had talent in her desired field of writing from the start, it's clear that working as Miranda's assistant while nothing to do with that field taught her many things she didn't consider including how far she could push herself and the importance of details and presentation.
  • Artistic License: Miranda's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Andy about the fashion industry mentions Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent featuring cerulean in their collections, which she says invented the trend that trickled down to the "tragic Casual Corners" of the world. In real life, it didn't exactly happen that way. The Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent shows featured little to no cerulean note  and many people who work in fashion have pointed out that the process of something becoming a trend is far less straightforward and top-down than Priestly's telling. Her version, though, does fit her character perfectly.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In the ending, Miranda faxes a one-page recommendation to Andy's potential new employer, telling him that Andy was the "biggest disappointment she ever had, and that if I didn't hire you I would be a complete idiot."
  • The Beautiful Elite: Deconstructed. While the majority of the fashion models and employees of Runway are indeed attractive and wealthy, the movie also goes out of its way to show just how much it costs to reach the top. Nearly everyone is on an incredibly strict diet ("0 is the new 2"), the risk of being replaced is always present, and there's an unhealthy degree of pretending to be happy at all times lest Miranda get upset.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Emily gets hit by a car, but she doesn't bear that much damage, physical or otherwise.
  • Becoming the Mask: Andy takes the job as a means to higher goals but is seduced by the fashion industry. And/or by her boss, depending on what you see in the subtext.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: It could be called "Beleaguered Assistants: The Movie." The film is from Andy's perspective as this assistant; there's even a montage of Miranda striding into the office and making an endless list of demands every day. Both Andy and Emily are expected to be on-call 24/7 to do whatever Miranda wants—ranging from tracking down unreleased copies of books to scheduling a new flight in the middle of a hurricane—and they're one mistake away from being replaced at all times.
  • Berserk Button: Calling the clothes "stuff" provokes Miranda into a long "The Reason You Suck" Speech rather than a simple dismissive comment. Andy going too far into her house provokes the most vicious Death Glare in the film.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Still Lighter and Softer than the book, but after quitting on Miranda in Paris, though in a quieter way, Andy doesn't get back together with Nate and thinks her writing career is shot. Still, she's able to make amends to Emily by giving her the designer clothes Emily coveted, and gets a job in journalism thanks to Miranda making a surprise recommendation.
  • British Stuffiness: Emily is the only member of the main cast with an obviously British accent and is also something of a bitch.
  • Broken Aesop: Andy is presented as being "too good" for the fashion designer assistant job she applies for, and she derisively says she will only tough it out for a year to gain the experience and connections needed to get the job she wants. When she finally learns to take her job seriously and do it well she's presented as "selling her soul," while her abruptly quitting is presented as "holding true to her morals." However, when she applies for the serious journalism job that she only took the fashion designer assistant job to get, they almost don't hire her due to her abrupt departure ("holding true to her morals"), and only hire her due to Miranda giving her a glowing recommendation... which Miranda only gave her due to Andy learning to do her job well ("selling her soul") in the first place.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Miranda is by no means weird or quirky, but she has such an abrasive personality that if she weren't so brilliant at her job she would likely have been replaced by someone who doesn't waste time going out of her way to be cruel.
  • Control Freak: Miranda, who oversees every aspect of the magazine at every stage of the production, and thinks nothing of turning everyone else's schedule upside down while micro-managing her own.
  • Costume Porn: Being about the fashion industry, many fancy clothes show up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Miranda and Emily, especially Miranda.
    By all means, move at a glacial pace; you know how that thrills me.
  • Death Glare: Miranda. Case in point. Andy describes an earlier one as if "the flesh was going to melt off her face".
  • Disapproving Look: Miranda's default expression, frequently overlapping with her Death Glare depending on how irritated she is.
  • Doting Parent: Miranda may be an Ice Queen, but she does love her twin daughters.
  • Double Standard: After she warms up to Miranda, Andy points out that if Miranda were a man, people wouldn't care about her sadistic ways, only what a great job she does.
  • The Dreaded: Reactions to Miranda seem to range from "extreme caution" (Nigel) to "abject terror" (pretty much everyone else).
  • Establishing Character Moment: First, the message of Miranda's early arrival causes a Mass "Oh, Crap!". Next, we see a figure marching directly towards her office with everyone in the crowd scurrying to make sure they don't attract her attention. Finally, she emerges from the lift, shoves her book into her assistant's arms, and rattles off a rapid-fire stream of criticisms and demanding instructions relating both to fashion and her personal life, which simultaneously shows her own superb memory and organisational skills. Ladies and gentlemen, Miranda Priestly.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Andy had done a lot for the sake of her job that she didn't want to including miss her boyfriend's birthday and go to Paris instead of Emily, but Miranda's sacrifice of Nigel's dream job with James Holt near the end of the film to keep Jacqueline Follet from replacing her as editor-in-chief was the point she finally had enough of Miranda and left Runway despite not having worked there a full year.
  • Everyone Owns a Mac: The Runway offices. Justified in that a real fashion magazine's offices would use Apples exclusively, too.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Miranda tells Andy that her daughters want to read "the next Harry Potter book." Andy offers to go to the nearest bookshop and get some copies, but Miranda corrects her—they've already read all of the existing ones. Andy starts puzzling out what she means out loud, and her eyes go wide with horror as she figures it out: Miranda is asking her to get the unreleased manuscript of the seventh Harry Potter book, which hadn't been released at the time of the film.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Mostly averted. Andy and Nate are two recent college graduates and their apartment is only slightly nicer than what someone of their income level could realistically afford — but Andy's father is also helping her out with rent.
  • Funny Background Event: The first time Andy corrects Miranda for calling her "Emily", the two designers in the background look as if they're expecting a bomb to go off.
    • Throughout most scenes in the office, you can see Emily dashing around in the background doing various chores. See the Trivia page for why (it was Emily Blunt's idea to have her character constantly busy).
  • HA HA HA—No: A variation; after Andy corrects Miranda on her name (much to the horror of the others in the room,) Miranda pauses, flashes a toothy smile with cold eyes with a brief chuckle, and then goes right on as if Andy hadn't spoken.
  • High-Powered Career Woman:
    • In her role as the editor-in-chief to a renowned fashion magazine, Miranda Priestly is a Mean Boss, feared and revered for her Ice Queen tendencies that have taken her to the top of her industry. When she is introduced, she is treated as The Dreaded and has no qualms dissecting Andy's holier-than-thou opinion regarding the fashion industry within minutes. As the film shows, being Married to the Job came at the cost of her personal life: she has a streak of failed marriages behind her and her latest husband divorces her towards the end of the film.
    • Andy subverts the archetype. The film sets her up to follow in Miranda's footsteps, with Andy entering her position as Miranda's assistant completely unprepared for the work as she looks down on the industry as superficial. To do her job well however, she realizes it takes far more effort and that she has to be more like Miranda: a stylish and self-confident woman that prioritizes her career over her relationships, which causes Andy's boyfriend to break up with her at the climax of the film. By the film's end, Andy chooses to walk away from the cutthroat world of fashion.
  • High Turnover Rate: Andy's last two predecessors were fired after a couple of weeks.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: In-universe, as a pot-shot to the fashion industry in general. Size-six Andy is considered fat at work and has to lose weight. It's also implied at one point that Miranda has postponed a photo shoot with Gwyneth Paltrow until she's lost some weight. The Gwyneth mention was due to the fact that at the time, she'd just had one of her children.
  • Humble Pie: After being chewed out by her boss, Andy storms out of the office and goes down to Nigel to complain. Nigel answers with a thorough "The Reason You Suck" Speech, forcing Andrea to admit that she doesn't appreciate her position enough.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: What Andy eventually becomes. Emily seems like this at first but it later becomes clear that even with her greater experience she still forgets things or doesn't explain them properly; it's implied that this is because she's starving herself to fit into the Parisian fashions she hopes to get ("I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight").
  • Hypocrite: Andy and her friends deride fashion industry professionals at the start of the film as, "It's not like they're curing cancer," yet none of them have jobs that important either. One friend is a data analyst, and Nate is a fry cook. Where do they get off acting like their jobs are superior to fashion industry jobs?
    • Andy's friends are all too happy to accept the perks of her job, getting name brand clothes, handbags, and accessories as gifts, but then they mock her for actually taking her job seriously, later chide her for "giving up her morals" by wearing nice clothes and accessories like the ones she gave them, and play keep-away with her phone when her boss is calling her.
  • Ice Queen: Miranda, who (despite a few cracks appearing when her children are involved) never lets people get in the way of her career, and she has the failed marriages to prove it.
  • Impossible Task: Andy is asked to secure the unpublished Harry Potter book as punishment for accidentally overhearing a personal conversation between Miranda and her husband. Just as Andy's prepared to quit because she can't do it, Christian does a Big Damn Heroes moment and secures her one, which she is able to photocopy and rebind three times (one copy for each twin and a third "just in case").
  • Informed Judaism: Andy as well as Miranda, who changed her name to not sound Jewish in the book. These aspects are not mentioned in the film though.
  • In with the In Crowd: Andy after she "drinks the kool-aid" and neglects her old friends.
  • Iron Lady: Miranda. Not surprisingly, the actress would go on to play the original in the eponymous film.
  • Ironic Name: The boss from Hell has the last name "Priestly."
  • Jerkass:
    • Miranda and Emily both have extremely stressful jobs that fully necessitate brusqueness and extremely high competence requirements, but they repeatedly go out of their way to be just plain mean to other people even when doing so actually wastes more time.
    • Miranda's children deliberately get Andy to go upstairs, clearly knowing that Miranda would be furious.
  • Just Following Orders: Andy's wording is usually "I didn't have a choice", but the spirit of this excuse is there whenever Miranda makes Andy do/not do something. Everyone calls Andy out on this, including Miranda herself, who says that she still made the choice to sacrifice other people's happiness to get a career advantage.
  • Karma Houdini: Miranda never really receives any true comeuppance for the horrible things she does special mention goes to screwing Nigel out of his dream job just so she can keep her own which has no on-screen repercussions aside from Andy quitting in disgust, which is par for the course as far as Miranda's assistants go.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: The opening credits.
  • Little "No": Miranda's usual way of rejecting an idea is simply to use this trope, sometimes while the person is right in the middle of an excited monologue. Sometimes she briefly gives her reason for rejecting it, other times she simply moves on to the next point, leaving the speaker to peter out.
  • Lost Aesop: The film starts off saying "Don't follow the crowd", championing Andy's uniqueness, only to reveal that her colleagues do actually know what they're talking about and she needs to catch up now she's working in the fashion industry. It then heads towards "Broaden your horizons and get to know the people you thought you had nothing in common with", changes direction and staggers towards "Don't put your job ahead of your friends" before eventually ending up somewhere in the region of "Don't compromise your ideals by working for a heartless bitch", even though doing so results in Andy getting her dream job...
  • Madness Mantra: Uttered by Emily while she's sick: "I love my job, I love my job . . ."
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Referenced; after the news of her latest divorce, Miranda predicts that the headlines will refer to "another Mr Priestly".
  • Married to the Job: Miranda, to the point that her actual husband divorces her, like the rest of them.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": A text saying Miranda's going to be in early sends the entire office into a panic.
  • Meaningful Name: "Miranda" comes from the word latin word "admire", appropriate given how difficult it is not to despite her cruelty.
  • Moment of Weakness:
    • After her husband tells her he's divorcing her, Andy talks to Miranda in her hotel room without her makeup and fashionable attire, while Miranda lets her down her guard and openly worries about how her reputation is going to affect her children.
    • Andy deciding she's going to quit before she gets fired has her calling her boyfriend to announce her decision before she changes her mind. Later, she tries to pass off her decision to quit as one of these, though it might be more truthful to apply this to her decision not to quit.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Nigel is the only employee who consistently receives Miranda's praise for showing up prepared. Andy even notes that Miranda values his expertise. When Miranda screws him over to save her own job, Andy is shocked and betrayed on his behalf. This is what motivates her to quit because it's one thing for Miranda to abuse her and Emily, but it's another to hurt Nigel.
    • Miranda's twin daughters for her, though they are a Spoiled Brat pair.
  • Morning Routine: Shows Andy's morning routine, contrasted with other women's, to show how different she is.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Andy declined an invitation by pro writer Christian Thompson to introduce her to someone higher-up on account of not wanting to miss any more of Nate's birthday. Not only did she wind up too late for Nate's birthday anyway, but sacrificing a possible chance to progress in her writing field and stay working for Miranda no doubt proved more detrimental to her relationship in the long run.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Miranda gives Andy this speech at the end of the film. Andy calls Miranda out on ruining Nigel's promotion to save her own ass and that she'll never do such a thing. Miranda tells her that she already did when she went to Paris in Emily's place. She says "I see a great deal of myself in you." The beautiful irony is that she means it as a "Well Done, Son" Guy moment, whereas Andy interprets this as a sign that she has crossed the point of no return.
    • When Andy starts getting better at her job and in turn gets along better with Nigel and Emily, the latter two gradually reveal they too are unhappy and strained working under Miranda.
  • Not What I Signed Up For:
    • Subverted with Andy. Although she didn't sign up for any bit of the job.
    • Played straight with Miranda's many husbands. They didn't realize that she would be Married to the Job.
  • Oh, Crap!: Miranda's demands often produce this reaction in whoever is expected to carry them out.
  • Parents as People: Something that Miranda laments in a private moment to Andy after her husband wants a divorce. Because she's Married to the Job she can't attend to her marriage as well as she can to her work, and as a result her girls suffer from the number of stepfathers they gain and lose.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Christian gets Andy the Harry Potter manuscript that Miranda demanded for the twins, no strings attached.
    • Andy calls Emily to offer her some of the clothing she was given by various designers while in Paris.
    • A more classic example (in that it comes from someone who one might fully expect to do something nasty,) is Miranda giving Andy a glowing recommendation for her next job (the one she actually wanted to begin with,) even though she quit unexpectedly, leaving Miranda in a potentially awkward position, right after Miranda had given her some genuinely sincere praise and said she thought Andy could have a bright future in the fashion industry.
  • Pet Homosexual: Averted with Nigel. He does give Andy a makeover, thereby saving her from herself, and he is Tall, Dark, and Snarky, but he's also much higher up the ladder than she is, as well as legitimately older and wiser, offers guidance in her career only, and doesn't hover around her like he has nothing better to do than make sure her life is running like clockwork. He's also shown to have ambitions of his own, and is crushed when Miranda gives his dream job to someone else to save her own skin.
  • Poor Communication Kills: It really feels like a lot of problems between Andy and Nate (and her friends) could have been solved with one conversation early on about what the job was going to entail, so there were no surprises.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: A lot of critics praised the film and claimed it improved on the book - most notably making Miranda more sympathetic.
  • Pretty in Mink: Miranda wears quite a few fur coats and wraps as part of showing her wealth.
  • Product Placement: Roughly 60% of the movie — 90% if you watch it with the DVD commentary.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Andy seems to get nothing but these — first from her coworkers for not taking her job seriously, then from her friends for taking her job too seriously.
  • Sadist: The psychological version; Miranda's viciousness frequently goes far beyond the necessity of keeping things running smoothly, and she seemed to be positively relishing Andy's reaction to the impossible task she set her in addition to her normal stressful duties.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Nate has this initial reaction when he sees Andy's makeover.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Emily gives Andy a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for telling her that Miranda wants Andy to go to Paris instead of Andy, which leads to Emily getting into an accident.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Miranda's voice gets positively gentle right when she's at her most horrible.
  • So Proud of You: After Andy repeatedly incurs Miranda's displeasure to warn her about the attempt to replace her, Miranda says she was "very, very impressed" by Andy's efforts, coming as close as she ever does to thanking her or acknowledging how tempting it might have been to let Miranda suffer.
  • Squee: The prospect of going to Paris immediately turns the stuffy and bitchy Emily into a star-struck teenager.
  • Survival Mantra: "I love my job. I love my job. I love my job" seems to be Emily's way of staving off a complete breakdown.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: A variant: Nate breaks up with Andy because Lily tells him that Christian kissed Andy (on the cheek) and says that she has changed too much, essentially accusing her of cheating. Only, now that Nate's broken up with her, Andy is now available to date Christian and goes out with him in Paris.
  • Tomboyish Name: Andrea goes by the nickname "Andy". Miranda and Emily always use the full name, presumably because their line of work prefers the more sophisticated feminine name.
  • Tranquil Fury: Icy, controlled annoyance seems to be Miranda's default state, but she never raises her voice even when truly furious. According to Streep, she made the decision before being case that Miranda would speak more and more softly the angrier she got.
  • Troll: Caroline and Cassidy by telling Andy she could go up the stairs in Miranda's house. It could very well have cost her her job.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Miranda clearly thinks she's irreplaceable. By the end of the film we realise that she's absolutely right, and could produce a long list of people who promised to quit Runway and follow her if she ever left the magazine.
  • Weight Woe: Emily, despite already being very thin by non-fashion standards.
    Emily: I don't eat anything, and right before I feel I'm going to faint, I eat a cube of cheese.... I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight.
  • Wet Blanket Wife: While Nate is not a spouse, he's one of the rare male versions of this trope, as screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna admitted in 2017:
    That was a 'girlfriend' part, really ... That's a part that a lot of women end up playing, the 'why aren't you home more,' the naggy wife.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Andy starts out as one, fresh out of Northwestern.
  • With Friends Like These...: Andy's friends and boyfriend. They gladly accept the gifts she gives them (courtesy of her job at Runway), but in the same breath "playfully" steal her phone while it is ringing and toss it between them, with her boss on the line — an act which could easily get Andy fired.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Miranda regrets how her high-stress lifestyle is negatively affecting the lives of her children, but acknowledges that it's a result of the choices she's made and won't complain about her own problems.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Poor Nigel. After working for Miranda loyally for over 16 years, just as he is about to land his dream job she hands it to someone else to save her own skin.

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