July 5, 2006

Big Secret: Even Angels Covet the Prada


One of the most surprising discoveries from the Cinecultist's participation in the Movie Binge project has been finding out that we share our pretty low-brow taste for typically what is called "chick flicks" with fellow contributor, Matthew "Fluxblog" Fluxington. A few times now, movies that most of our friends would call "Karen movies" with a tone of affection and dismay, have been flicks Matthew wants to cover too. Who knew a music dude like Matthew would know such much about our genre of choice?

While CC was still working on our opinion of The Devil Wears Prada movie for our Movie Binge review, we had the following interesting IM exchange with Matthew.

Matthew: I thought it was fun enough, but it had no idea what it wanted to say and the resolution is idealistically incoherent.
CC: Yeah, I think the filmmaker's fear of how Anna Wintour would feel being portrayed as she is in the book changed the characters a lot.
Matthew: Yeah it's funny how Meryl is the most sympathetic character by the end.
CC: I know.
Matthew: But the thing I don't get is the whole "being ambitious and hard working is great and will get you far, but if your shlubby underachieving friends are alienated by you, well then you MUST be a fraud."
CC: Yeah, that was pretty muddled.
Matthew: I think there's probably a much better movie in a sympathetic person trying to deal with how their ambitions have led them into a lifestyle at odds with their old circle of friends, and trying to have both at the same time. But the movie never gave us much reason to reject the fashion people, and so it's jarring when it asks you to do so. So this movie is about how most people like to admire ambitious people, but cannot relate to them.

Most of our thoughts up until then had been on the plane of "Meryl continues to rock our world," "Anne looks lovely with smooth hair" and "Simon Baker's face has something funny about it that we can't quite put our finger on." But as Matthew rightly points out, the movies which seem the most throw away often actually say best what is happening in our culture at that moment in time.

What's more of the zeitgeist according to Prada? Turning bitching about your subservient work environment into dubious fame and a multiple book deal? Or the subtle power that the demanding boss ultimately wields in modifying the resulting movie to make her look sympathetic and be played by Meryl Streep? Or is it about how ambition looks better on a woman when she's a size 4 and totting the most current handbag? The jury's still out on all of the above as far as we're concerned.

Posted by karen at July 5, 2006 11:23 AM