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Headscratchers / The Devil Wears Prada

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  • Why exactly are we supposed to hate/resent Christian? Because he took a once-in-a-lifetime job offer? Seriously, who wouldn't jump at that. Because he's not sympathetic toward Miranda? Andy is pretty much the only person in the world with any sympathy for her, and only because she'd just seen her at her worst. Because he took Andy to bed on their first date? It was their first official date but they'd known each other for months before. IMHO Christian would have been a much more suitable boyfriend for Andy than Nate: he's mature, successful, has a lot in common with Andy, seems genuinely interested in her (you don't put that kind of effort into getting a girl for just one night), and most of all he understands what her work entails and doesn't reprehend her for it. He didn't deserve to be cast in such a negative light at the end.
    • Entirely true. Christian actually seemed to be looking out for Andy and trying to help her with her career, yet we're apparently meant to see him as a playboy enticing her away from her dull friends. Then he gets shafted by Miranda and just disappears from the film.
    • Except, you know, the borderline sexual harassment and inability to understand "no".
    • Kind of like the lead couple in every romantic comedy ever made then? Andy's refusal is pretty half-hearted and she clearly consents to sex with him. (They're in the middle of the street when he kisses her, it's not like she didn't have time to change her mind.)
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    • Plus, Andy actually has chemistry with Christian. With Nate, I couldn't decide if she was his girlfriend, his roommate or his "beard" until the sexual relationship was spelled out, and then, they sound more like Friends with Benefits than romantic partners.
    • IMHO, the only way Andy's "I'm not your baby" reaction makes sense is if Christian had seduced her solely to get at Miranda... which is NOT the case! As it was, he was pretty honest with her and even showed real trust in her: when asked, he truthfully explained what the mock-up was about to somebody he barely knew... and who immediately tried to undo his career move by going to help someone she hates. Any other person in Andy's (fabulous) shoes would have been, in any order, happy for him, rejoicing for being rid of a Bad Boss, and thinking about her own career opportunities in the context of being Christian's friend (venal, yes, but the movie did get out of his way to show that the fashion world is all about who, not what, you know).
  • I found it ironic that the boyfriend who tells Andy that it's just clothes was earlier pontificating about French fries.
    • His self-righteous exclamation about having spent eight dollars on pretentious cheese for a sandwich that he appears to have let burn anyway is also hard to take, given his superior attitude towards the fashion industry spending money on decent clothes.
    • Ah, but he knows this! You see, he makes port wine reductions all day! He's not exactly in the Peace Corps! He wouldn't care if she was a pole dancer as long as she did it with a little integrity! You have to appreciate those lines, because that's where the movie pretty much tells you that it measures "integrity" by the sole criterion of not growing away from your social circle for any reason, and that what you decide to do for a living doesn't even enter into it.
      • Not to mention that, at the end of the movie, he moves to Boston to become a sous-chef. Apparently, embracing new horizons (while still appreciating old ones) to further your career is a big no-no, but physically distancing yourself from your friends is A-OK.
      • Also, don't you just LOVE Nate's "since you are quitting this job, we should celebrate." And no, it's definitely not in a "you had a rough day, let me take you mind of off all that cr*p and offer you a nice evening at home." You can heard the smug satisfaction in his voice.
      • It's easy for Nate to have a little integrity, when Andy's father is the one paying his rent!
  • Seriously, her friends all suck. In that scene where they play keep-away with her phone when they know it's her legendarily unforgiving boss calling (right after she gave them all that free stuff!), how is it that she's supposed to be the asshole for not finding it hilarious? (Not to mention, I bet the rest of the restaurant enjoyed listening to that godawful ringtone for way longer than necessary.)
    • It always bugged me that they branded her the bad friend for that. If she had done that to any of them they would've been angry and potentially lost their job for not answering the phone to a bad boss. Everyone's had a shitty boss; wouldn't they understand that this was a job dangling problem? Really, her friends came off as immature and overly idealistic, while she was the one who matured and understood that sometimes you work jobs that aren't 100% perfect because they get you where you need go to.
    • I kind of lost interest in the film at that point because they seemed to be playing the "She's becoming a bad person who needs to give up her successful career and get back in touch with her roots" card. Thankfully they managed to avoid completely undoing her character development by having her go back to her non-entity friends and dull boyfriend, even if she does give all her clothes away. And seriously, her friends are on screen for about ten minutes in the entire film, why are we meant to care that she isn't spending time with them?
      • This issue is that Andy completely changes who she is in order to fit in at Runway and becomes a fashionista b**ch and mini-Miranda. Yes, she wants to be a journalist and yes working at Runway is a prestige job, but you should never do a complete 180 turn for a job. It seems like at the end she's at the sort of liberal muck-racking paper which fits her personality and is a place where she would actually get to write something (i.e. city council meetings and the police blotter) rather than just picking up dry cleaning and answering phones.
      • But Andy didn't turn into a "fashionista b**ch". I remember her being nice to everyone throughout the film except for when she steps over Emily to accompany Miranda to Paris and that's not even such a bad thing depending on who you ask. I don't understand how people are saying she turned into someone she wasn't for her job.
      • She didn't exactly step over Emily, despite Miranda's "Not So Different" Remark speech at the end: Miranda losing her job at Runway is by no means the end of her career; so, how is that supposed to parallel the Emily/Andy situation? Andy can barely pay rent as it is, she can't afford to lose her job. Worse, Miranda does threaten, covertly but still very clearly, to make it extremely difficult for Andy to ever work again in journalism. Considering the fashion guru's clout, this threat sounds very doable!
      • Similarly, Nate says that "that job wasn't forced on [Andy]", and as such, she shouldn't use it as her go-to excuse... Why, yes, when you are just out of college, you kind of have to take whatever you can get, within reason. As they say, beggars can't be choosers. Andy needs both the money and the credentials. Even if fashion isn't her preferred topic, even if the pay is not good, and even considering she is doing very little actual writing, she is far better off in the long run working at Runway than waitressing. (Before anyone jumps down my throat: I have nothing against waitressing, it is just not Andy wants for her life.)
    • I was actually on the side of her friends. No seriously. The opening scenes establish Andy as close to her friends, happy with her boyfriend, and most of all, nonchalant about her big job opportunity. It is after all a means to an end ... not her dream job, and certianly not in her ultimate field. In short order she learns that her coworkers uniformly loathe her, her boss is the most evil woman in the world, and that her schedule is entirely fluid and at the at the mercy of the whims of the wicked fashionista-in-chief. Rather then consider "there must be a better way to start a journalisim career", she decides to endure the ritualistic humiliations, wisecracks about her weight (This is Anne Hathaway, folks), servile menial tasks, casual cruelty from co-workers and lack of free time, ultimately worshiping at the altar of Them What Make Clothes. .... and we the audience are supposed to dislike her friends for not embracing all the changes in her life this entails.
      • As someone who worked for a year on one of the big three luxury fashion titles in the UK (Harper's), I actually sympathise with her mates! I was a little more senior than Andy, but the film is not that much of an exaggeration in places and I was an awful person to be around during that year - constantly preoccupied, never able to fully enjoy myself, distracted from conversations — no fun at all. The job takes over your life, and apart from the fact that the friends snatched her phone away (too harsh), I think all they are trying to do is make her see sense that the job is actually ruining her life - yes, she's successfully "in the door" and working on a prestigious brand, but at what cost?
      • Why would you be nice to someone who is working with you and acting like a martyr for putting up with the same abuse you do? Andy makes it really clear she thinks fashion is trivial and, while she's entitled to her opinion, she lands a job thousands of other girls would die for. It's kind of selfish to make it clear you treat a prestigious job like it's not important, especially when Miranda has fired other girls who were desperate for the job and sacrifices much of her personal life to ensure the magazine's success. From her perspective, Andy's attitude isn't just rude, it's completely insulting. Not to mention, she's being presented with opportunities to meet amazing people and go to new places, but her friends constantly bitch that she's "not the same". What do they want her to do, stay in the same job, with the same clothes, forever?
      • I've never understood what the writers were going for, with this. Can you help me? What is it that her friends are objecting to? What exactly is wrong with taking a job you're not crazy about in order to get where you want to go? Even if her friends don't understand it, I really fail to see how that choice has anything to do with them. Sometimes our friends are too busy to see us, because of things beyond their control, and it isn't personal. The job sucks, but it's not like Andy's dragging her friends along with her to the office each day — she's the on who has to deal with it. If I were her friend I would be sympathetic, or possibly concerned by the bags under her eyes; I would not act like she'd killed my cat just because she couldn't join us at happy hour every day. (Also, just so you know: I have no Y chromosome, and I've never felt that fashion was stupid or whatever.)
      • It is made very clear very early on that Andy wants to be a journalist very badly — she gave up a place at Stanford Law and moved to New York for this very purpose. Also, don't forget that she could easily have gotten a position at Auto Universe, where she probably wouldn't have had to change her appearance at all; but in her interview speech she clearly dismisses it as an even worse option than Runway because it wouldn't give the same boost to her career. So she practically begs Miranda to hire her, promises to work very hard, and yet she still acts as if she's somehow above it all — with that kind of attitude it's understandable that her colleagues take jabs at her. After all, she's supposed to represent the world's most influential fashion magazine every day — how can she expect them to take her seriously if she so stubbornly refuses to acclimatize?
      • I just can't see her friends point of view. Some of the things that Andy had to do for her job were crazy but as friends they should have supported her. They felt she was a different person because she gained an interest in fashion (which is kind of a requirement when working at a fashion magazine) and because she had less time to spend with them. I don't think Andy's personality changed at all during the film (remind me if it did, its been awhile since I've seen the film). She was still a nice girl but with better clothes and willing to do whatever she had to do to achieve her ultimate goal. As friends they should have understood that this is all temporary and that Andy has no plans on becoming the next big thing in fashion: she just wants to be a journalist.
      • Her friends are a much bigger issue in the book. In the book, Nate (whose name is Alex) is an saintlike, uber-patient inner-city elementary school teacher who goes out of his way to apologize for being late when one of his students slashes another student with a box cutter. Meanwhile, Lily is an alcoholic, self-destructive PhD candidate in Russian literature, who Andy needs to take care of on a daily basis. The whole subplot about Miranda screwing Nigel out of a job and Andy screwing Emily out of Paris isn't there- instead, the reasons Andy is "supposed" to stay home are that her sister was having a baby and Lily winds up in the hospital in a coma after a drunk-driving accident, and Emily couldn't go because she had severe mononucleosis. So the crucial nature of her loyalty is somewhat less ambiguous in the novel.
      • I didn't see the movie, but I read the book, and I thought Andy's family and friends were being completely unreasonable. Yes, Lily got into a drunk driving accident, and that's terrible. But you know what? Lily's not a child, and Andy's not her mother. Lily was completely responsible for what happened, and there's no reason Andy should have had to throw away a huge career opportunity to take care of her. Lily's not a friend; she's a parasite. And in any case, there was nothing Andy could do for her by coming back from Paris. Likewise, Andy's sister is having a baby, and yes, the birth of a niece or nephew is a very big deal, and if at all possible, you'd want to be there for that. But you know what? Andy's sister has a husband and parents who can all be there. Expecting Andy to quit this job, so close to the finish line, and throw away everything she had suffered for over this horrible year, just to be a cheerleader in the hospital, for Lily or her sister, is completely unreasonable.
      • I agree with that judgment about her friends: Alex was understandably upset that Andy would put her career over everything else. Andy's parents are a different story, though; her dad is a psychologist and understands that it's hard for her to go visit after doing one year of hard work but it will pay off. Her mom, who is a homemaker, gently asks and is worried about if Andy is happy; she doesn't get the full gist of the situation. The other difference is that in the book they're willing to take care of Andy and Lily while the former works on her writing career, while in the film her dad expects her to be independent; Andy took the job at Runway because the other option was writing at home with her parents hovering over her shoulder without anything to write about. Lily is the only one who is happy that Andy came back after getting herself fired and has renewed their friendship. It also helps that The Last Straw for Andy was Miranda giving her an Impossible Task at the party that Andy couldn't fulfill since you can't renew passports with three hours to go for an international flight, and Andy decided to come home since she would get fired anyway.
    • One year of hellish bootcamp for the chance to be hired at any job in the city hardly seems unreasonable for friends and family to have to put up with. (In the book, she could take her pick at the top of any magazine if she got through a year, but I don't remember if this is specifically the case in the movie). Other professions do this: MD residents literally go through hell and sleep three hours a night before they can get a better work-life balance. Some people have to relocate for a year. I can understand if her friends and boyfriend don't want to put up with this as a permanent thing, but dealing with your friend/girlfriend having no life outside of work for a single year is not a ridiculous thing to have to endure, especially of the potential rewards are so significant.
    • Another thing that bugs me: Lily's reaction to Christian kissing Andy on the cheek. She doesn't ask what's going on and, you know, worry about what's going on in her friend's head and heart; no, she goes straight into accusatory mode. Taking Nate's side only makes sense if her true friend is Nate and Andy is just a side thought because she is Nate's girlfriend. But then she claims to have known Andy for the "last 16 years"... Lily acts all betrayed, almost as if she'd caught Andy actually cheating on HER.
  • I don't get how the whole clothes are a big deal and took effort speech, that's supposed to be a reason Andy sucks speech, matters. So it takes some effort by some people to do it? It's not like the alternative, not wearing clothes, is viable.
    • Since Andy begins working at Runway she makes it clear that she doesn't care about what they do there and that she considers herself above fashion. Fashion is basically the world to people like Miranda and Nigel who are very passionate about what they do. This is kind of why I understood their POV when they weren't very warm to Andy at the start of the film. They sacrifice their personal lives to put everything they have into this job that they love and in comes Andy who says she doesn't care about fashion (which is perfectly fine) but when Miranda gives her the speech Andy had actually laughed at Miranda and her client and again made it clear that she doesn't really know or care about what they do. Miranda speech was showing her how everything they do at Runway affects Andy one way or another and that in a way, she's following the trends that they set even if she doesn't realize it. Even if Andy chooses not to care about fashion, she shouldn't consider it stupid or beneath her because the clothes that Andy puts on her back are influenced by the work that Runway does.
    • To my mind, it's not even that she's not dressed fashionably, not even that she's not dressed professionally, but she's not even dressed like a normal responsible adult. I get not being interested in fashion, but practically going out of your way to look like a 6 year-old with an over-protective mother? Not to mention, as an office job, any adult would want to look somewhat nice; but as a job facing clients and important business partners? Hell, yes, you need to look good, that's a job requirement! Heck, the way she dressed for her job interview, she would have been dismissed for any position at any magazine for not looking interested in the job! (And that's not even mentioning how she didn't do her "homework" and didn't even look up the name of her potential boss...)
  • Why did Miranda go through so many divorces? Wouldn't men interested in her find out about her difficult personality and realize how time consume her job is *before* they get married, *especially* since she is a celebrity whose personality is being sharply critized by the press? That said, doesn't her social circle mostly consist of people with jobs that are just as time consuming, stressful and exhausting and who should have just as little time for their lover/spouse as her and therefore should show understanding for the pressure a career like Miranda's puts on her? One should assume her husbands knew what they were getting into. (Maybe her first husband has an excuse, since she might have married him before her career took off, but the one in the movie definitely hasn't been with her that long.)
    • Just because her husbands knew she had difficult personality doesn't mean they were prepared to everything. There is a difference between understanding someone and actually being able to deal with them. They could just overestimate how much they can endure. Also it is possible some of the divorces were her initiative.
  • Why does Andy care if Miranda loses her job at Runway? Not only is the woman making her life hell, it's not even that big of an issue! Miranda, as shown later in the movie, has the contacts, skills, and investors to strike out on her own; or, given her age and her fortune, she could just retire; or even become the "muse" or "new" public figure of whatever fashion label she chooses. The point is, she is out of a job, not kicked out on the streets.
    • This also makes her throwing Nigel under the bus to keep her job that much more of a dick move and her telling Andy that they are not so different because of the Emily thing a transparent attempt at justifying her own actions.
    • I always interpreted that moment as showing that Andy has finally come to understand Miranda and all she's given up to become the most powerful fashion magazine editor in the world. Andy has learned that Miranda truly loves fashion, and has sacrificed virtually everything for it. Earlier in the film, Andy would have probably been delighted at the prospect of Miranda getting a taste of her own medicine and getting fired—her Character Development shows that she's come to see her boss as a human being, and she genuinely wants to protect her from getting hurt. She also knows that even if Miranda "started over," as it were, there would be a huge public scandal about the head of Runway getting replaced. The film also goes out of its way to show just how fast-paced the fashion industry is: no one, not even the great Miranda Priestly, is irreplaceable. By trying to keep Miranda from getting fired, Andy shows that she's both grown as a person and has genuinely come to care about the world she initially despised.
  • Are we really meant to believe Miranda is evil?
    • The only unreasonable demand she makes of Andy is the Miami flight.
    • The Harry Potter thing comes as revenge for Andy inadvertently eavesdropping on a private and painful discussion; not nice, true, but a perfectly human reaction.
    • Only if you’re a horrible human. Punishing an employee by giving them what you believe to be an impossible task, just because they accidentally eavesdropped - is not professional or understandable or “perfectly human”. She was going to fire Andy if she couldn’t do it.
    • As for Emily, if her job is not up to par, it is the privilege of her boss to demote her; making Andy be the messenger is nasty, but given Miranda's general treatment of her subordinates and her full agenda, it may not even be a deliberate effort to make Andy uncomfortable. Again, not nice, but this is a business, not a charity.
      • Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but I saw that moment as Miranda actually playing her role of the self appointed mentor to Andy. Her ending speech implies that this is how she sees herself in regard to her. So it's possible that she was trying to teach Andy a lesson, that when she chooses to do something that she knows will negatively affect someone, she has to have guts to tell them that personally.
    • Her treatment of Nigel is the only truly cruel bad thing we see her do, and even though she was not exactly protecting her life or livelihood, she was under some pressure.
    • On the other hand, the movie goes out of its way to give her Pet the Dog moments, or at least moments when the audience and Andy can sympathize.
      • Notably so at the very end. Which is, possibly, meant to imply an off-screen happy ending for Nigel. Since she does 'pay [people] back'.
      • "Evil" is a strong word. Miranda is not actively trying to harm anyone in the film. However, she is a relentless and unforgiving pain in the ass to virtually everyone she meets for no reason at all. She refuses to learn Andy's name for the first chunk of the film, she changes things abruptly and then insults people for failing to read her mind about it, she insults people for events which are out of their control, and through all of it the pay sucks so badly that Andy has to borrow money from her parents just to make rent and Miranda explicitly threatens her with not only firing her from her current job but blackballing her from publishing entirely.
  • If her boyfriend, family and friends can't stand her not being there every time they need someone to do something with, how do they hope to cope with a real journalism career? Real journalists go undercover. You can't tell the White House you can't make it because its your boyfriend's birthday. You can't decide that instead of interviewing people displaced by war you need to go to your friend's baby shower.
    • Those are extreme examples of journalism careers. Most real journalists don't go undercover, go to war zones, or attend White House press briefings. The hours can be long and unpredictable but not that much.

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