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Monday, March 30, 2009

I know it's only a film but...

In my ceaseless quest to stay abreast of the latest things happening in movies, last night I watched a film called "The Devil Wears Prada", which purports to be set in the world of high-end magazines. I know it's an eclair of a film but nonetheless I have to take issue with:
* the notion that anyone would get an interview for a job at a top magazine without having at least heard of it
* the idea that the editor arrives at the office after everyone else
* the wholly misleading hint that there are any magazine writers as implausibly handsome and poised as Simon Baker
* the fiction that the person designing the jacket for the new Harry Potter book gets the manuscript as well - oh, and copies it as a favour
* having made a success of her job the heroine leaves for - just hold my sides a second - a newspaper.

17 comments:

rob said...

I got completely the wrong end of the stick about that film and watched it as a Devil's Advocate / Buffy style metaphor thing waited for the editor to be revealed LITERALLY as Satan halfway through.

I was wrong and I don't advise watching the film in this way as it makes it confusing and disappointing.

trail of bread said...

Movies are frequently ruined if you actually know anything about the real world version. I was a scientist and the only film scientists that ring true are in Apollo 13 (and most of that is engineering). However, surely you are being too self-depreciating about you and the Word crew not looking as handsome as film stars.

BLTP said...

DH: you went with the idea of Anne Hathaway being considered unattractive at the start of the film then?

Andy said...

Just to echo "trail of bread" on two counts.

As an engineer Apollo 13 rings true and I actually find their achievement really moving. The average age of the guys in Mission control during the Gemini and Apollo programmes was 27.

And I was about to point out the ridiculous notion that intelligent, talented, stunners like Anne Hathaway would have anything to do with the real-work of publishing, when I of course remembered Word's very own Kate Mossman to successfully shoot down my own thesis.

Smithylad said...

I can't enjoy Black Books for the same reason - a lifetime in the book trade stops me suspending the neccesary belief.

David Hepworth said...

It's more complicated than that with me.

I buy the basic premise of the world of the film. That *is* how high fashion magazines work. That *is* how hierarchical (particularly American) magazines are. I know top American editors who *do* have two assistants with them at parties to remind them of clients' names. They *do* look at rails of clothes and go "where's the advertisers?" The week in Paris *is* the most important time of the year. People *would* kill for those jobs.

But I don't buy the basic premise of the film. A truly ambitious hack would not have gone home to celebrate the boyfriend's birthday when she could have been meeting somebody who could be really useful for her career. And the boyfriend wouldn't have minded! A bunch of people trying to make their way in Manhattan do not sneer at a friend who's got a more prestigious job than theirs. And no editor in the world says "your piece on the janitors' union is just the kind of thing we're looking for".

londonlee said...

The editor is supposed to be based on Anna Wintour isn't she?

A guy I used to work with at The Atlantic now writes for Vanity Fair and he's better looking than Simon Baker.

trail of bread said...

Real life is like the movies (or at least tv) - my wife apparently works in The Office. Her boss has just come in announced the Bad news that everyone's pay is frozen, but the Good news that he is being promoted to a swanky new job in Europe. Irony free as well.

David Hepworth said...

Pay freeze? She obviously works in the bit of the economy where that's bad news.

Kirstie McCrum said...

As a journalist, I have to say I'm quite pleased to have friends and family believe that my occupation is as glitzy as those portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada. Is that so wrong?!
I'm sure I read somewhere that a certain suspension of disbelief was merited when learning at the knee of Madame Hollywood...

trail of bread said...

Chemical Industry (usually only seen on film in disaster movies - the reality is actually very dull). Pay freeze expected - though turnover and profits are up 5% on last year's record - it was the combination of the good news/bad news that made them laugh (in a bitter sort of way). Apparently the other "good news" was that they had considered cutting everyone's salary by 5%, but decided not to.

andy cowles said...

A few years ago I worked in New New York City as the Creative Director of Mademoiselle, also published by Conde Nast. And I can honestly say that watching this movie was like seeing my life flashing before my eyes. Nothing like as extreme of course, but the twisted values, the virtual lives, the la-la land lifestyle all rang horribly true.
Andy Cowles (aka Stanley Tucci)

bmtv said...

A tale from a friend who did work experience at UK Glamour:
"On my first day I was shown to my desk where I saw a post-it, 'Tall, skinny cappuccino. No fucking foam.'"

Horrible. And exactly the reason why I'll never lower myself to the world of women's mags.

Badger Madge

Michael said...

Ours is not a 'top magazine' but we recently interviewed several bright young things with media degrees who quite happily admitted to not having heard of or read our magazine. "A stepping stone to a career in TV," that's what we are.

John Soanes said...

Are you deliberately working through the oeuvre of Emily Blunt, David?
J

David Hepworth said...

I am indeed. *Twirls moustache.*

John Soanes said...

I shall be interested to see if My Summer Of Love fuels the fires of your moustache-twirling fiendishness... still, makes a change from the 'musician girlfriends' mentioned in the Word, I guess!
J