Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Devil Question

Warning: I'm going to talk about The Devil Wears Prada, and there might be spoilers. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, best skip on...

Hubby and I saw the Prada movie this weekend. Neither of us has read the book (though we'd both like to now, to see the differences at the least). Afterwards, we had quite the discussion about what was meant by the title--at least as pertains to the movie. Who, exactly, was the Devil here?

Miranda? Well, that's the obvious choice. She's the power figure, always making impossible demands. She's rude to everyone and extraordinarily self-centered. She actively tempts Andy to make a choice to advance herself at the expense of another person. Sounds like the Devil, maybe? But she also is presented, in the movie, as being human. She is visibly upset at the prospect of her divorce and protective and worried about her children. She smiles when she sees Andy happy at the end, and recommends her for a job. Would a true devil do any of those things?

Christian Thompson? This is the guy who seduces Andy, all the while helping to plan the takeover of her boss. He tempts her as well, more than once, with the famous, wealthy lifestyle. He even mocks her boyfriend. I would think he'd be a pretty good candidate for at least a demon...and he could wear Pradas too.

Here's what my husband thought: Take Miranda as a form of God--all-powerful, asking the impossible of her "subjects", striving for perfection (in a sense) at the magazine. Christian (ironic name) is the Devil. They're battling each other for the power of the magazine, with Andy as a pawn. In the end, in that scenario, God beats the Devil by a little trickery, and holds on to the power.

"But she hurts Nigel, badly, in the process," I argued. "God wouldn't do that."

"Look at the Old Testament," he countered. "Were none of God's followers hurt?"

I don't know. It's not what was meant, I'm sure, but it is certainly an interesting reading, something fun to play around with. Heck, I haven't read this much into something since lit classes in college--but it made me remember how much I liked doing that, sometimes. (Scary thought for an author, though. What WILL readers find in your works, that you hadn't even considered?)

Julie commented that Andy was the devil. I hadn't even considered that. Perhaps another take?

What do you think?

5 comments:

Julie K said...

Suze:

Saw the movie and read the book. In the book, there's no smiles, very little humanity and no lightning of Miranda's severity...

My take, though? Maybe the whole fashion lifestyle is the devil - the tempting, lascivious commercialism that keeps the industry running. The "you're not good enough if you don't lose 30 pounds so you can wear the best clothes and go to the best parties and drink the best champagne" lifestyle that seduces so many and spits them out again when it's done.

Julie K

Susan Adrian said...

Julie:

Hmmm, interesting. (And well-said!)

There definitely is that. And yet I admit that there was some attraction to the lifestyle, at least in the movie. She did look good, it did seem glamorous--on the surface. The trick is that life is really the same underneath.

I also appreciated Miranda's speech in the movie about the significance of the fashion industry even to regular people...the "trickle down". I hadn't though much about it, but that IS true.

Suze

Susan Adrian said...
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JK said...

Maybe it's the superficiality of the lifestyle that hints it's the real devil [g].

I really liked the movie, and the book was a lot of fun, too.

I loved it when Miranda said that Andy was so sweet for thinking she didn't know [g]. I was super-impressed by Meryl Strep - she was just so solidly good the whole way through.

Julie K

Susan Adrian said...

Julie:

That's the main impression I came away from the movie with, actually--how very, very good Meryl Streep was in that role. Perfect.