Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada

Meryl Streep received her fourteenth Oscar nomination and set up a new record in 2007 when she received her nom for playing Miranda Priestly, a ruthless boss in the comedy The Devil Wears Prada. Actually, 2007 was the time when the whole world started to want Meryl to win her third Oscar, which is yet to come to her though I have a feeling that if The Iron Lady is any good, she won't have to wait very much. Although nobody had a chance in hell of beating Helen Mirren, Meryl provided some ultra minor competition.

The Devil Wears Prada is movie that I wouldn't watch if it wasn't for Meryl Streep. It's an extremely standard story about a girl's changes. Anne Hathaway is an actress who doesn't impress me as much as others but I still consider her a good actress. Emily Blunt is, however, just excellent. Stanley Tucci is a fine character actor and he's also very good in this role. The whole movie is quite enjoyable and entertaining but it doesn't go beyond that. It's a perfect one to watch on a boring afternoon when you don't have much to do.

Meryl Streep is an actress who can really annoy me sometimes but whenever I see her act, I forget all my complaints. While she's very technical and when you think about that it's really annoying, her whole style works and it always pays off (though there are always people who attack her work). Miranda Priestly is one of her most popular and loved performances and nowadays many people think that she should have won her third for this one. However, there are many people who think that Miranda is a supporting role.

In a way, I agree that Meryl is supporting but I also believe that she's the driving force of this whole movie. Meryl is the reason why people like The Devil Wears Prada. She elevates the whole material to another level with her real brilliance. She's the one and only reason why the movie doesn't suck, really. Without her this film would have been forgotten in about two months. However, there came Meryl, won a Golden Globe, impressed everyone and Miranda became one of Meryl's most popular roles.

Miranda's part is actually not as complicated as it seems and I bet it was quite easy and enjoyable for Meryl. Throughout the movie, I felt that Meryl had a lot of fun in this role and yet she took this silly comedy very seriously. Miranda is very much like Patty Hewes from Damages. Tough, strict, brutally honest, sharp and above all, ruthless. Although Meryl doesn't have a brutal drama, she was able to achieve something almost as great as great Glenn in Damages. Meryl added a lot of depth to this very shallow comedy and as a result, we got a really impressive and almost dazzling performance.

The Devil Wears Prada has a very shallow and standard story but I'd say that Meryl's character was excellently worked out though I feel that Meryl had very much to do with that. What I love most about Meryl's performances that her brilliance keeps changing in every movie. Once, she's joyful and radiant (Julie & Julia), sometimes she's just terrifying (Sophie's Choice), sometimes she's painfully ordinary and believable (A Cry in the Dark, Silkwood) and sometimes she has this very sharp excellence (like in Doubt) that she shows in The Devil Wears Prada. She's incredibly subtle as Miranda and she becomes insanely hilarious occasionally. This ultra subtlty is probably the main reason why this performance is so great.

Moreover, the emotions Meryl attached to Miranda are really impressive. I actually felt some kind of a sympathy for this woman. Her breakdowns and fights over her marriage are very sad. We get the feeling that Miranda is not really happy. That big monologue she delivers about her divorce at the hotel is just perfect. But I could also mention the one in the car, which is (in my opinion) one of Meryl's best moments captured in a movie.

Although Meryl is fantastic all in all, the movie sometimes drags her performance down and I feel that she could have been given much more to work with. I still say that she's just excellent as Miranda Priestly, the merciless, vicious magazine editor but the movie prevented me from saying that I was totally blown away. Still, it would be really unfair to take away anything from Meryl as she's really fantastic.

In the end, I decided for a 4.5.

What do you think? Who should be the next reviewed lady (whose review will come on Thursday or Saturday)?


Fritz said...

I really enjoy this movie and Meryl is great in it.

dinasztie said...

Basically, that sums up my opinion, too. :-)

Louis Morgan said...

I would probably give her less, but I believe she was enjoyable.

Dazzling Aura said...

When someone mentioned "The Devil Wears Prada" Meryl comes to my mind first. I totally forgot about Anne. It means, really, the film works because of her.

Anonymous said...

I don't think she could've done anything more.

joe burns said...

I think she's fantastic, a five from me, though she's on the cusp between that and a 4 and a half. I actually think the movie's pretty good. Sure, a somewhat standard story, but I think it's much better then a lot of those chick-flick movies. And I think Anne is good too..

Kate or Helen next!

Derek Bowman said...

This is a performance that I never found all the interesting, but instead just solid and unspectacular. I love the film, and Anne and Emily are great, but Streep doesn't have enough to work with.

Chelsea said...

I think this was a supporting role. That being said, the movie would indeed be forgotten if Meryl wasn't in it. I love the movie and Meryl's performance is solid. But I still don't think it belonged in the Lead Actress category.

Helen next!