The Devil Wears Prada David Frankel

Anne Hathaway is known, in the places where she is known, as a princess. Not just any princess though — the princess of Disney franchise The Princess Diaries; also the princess of Ella Enchanted (Cinderella re-imagined) and Hoodwinked (Little Red Riding Hood re-imagined… okay, not a princess, but you get the drift). And so it seems appropriate as she moves into big people movies — that’s what you call them when the villain is Meryl Streep, not Julie Andrews — that she’s playing, essentially, another princess.

In The Devil Wears Prada, the increasingly adult Hathaway plays Andy Sachs, an aspiring earnest journalist who somehow falls into a job as the assistant to the most powerful woman in fashion publishing, Runway editor Miranda Priestly, played with white hair and snarling attitude by Streep. (The character is not so subtly based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour.)

Sachs is a greenhorn and a fashion outcast who nevertheless finds Priestly’s favour and thus gets transformed into a fashion superstar (à la the princess makeover) while dipping her toe in the waters of big city publishing — ironically both shallow and shark-infested. From there, Sachs succeeds, dresses well, looks fabulous and eventually discovers it’s all meaningless and empty and she’s losing her soul, just in time, the end.

Based on the bestselling chick-lit book, The Devil Wears Prada is divertingly amusing, especially in its first half; the delightful dressing down (as it were) inflicted by Streep’s Priestly and Stanley Tucci as Runway’s accessories editor are great fun. But the breakthrough, in both performance and on-screen enjoyment, is Emily Blunt, who plays Priestly’s higher-ranking assistant bathing in insecurity and ambition while reaching new depths of toadying.

The film over-explains nearly every moment and its structure is painfully traditional but with strong performances by Streep, Tucci and Blunt (plus Entourage’s Adrian Grenier as "the boyfriend”), it’s a safe space for Hathaway to practice her grown-up moves. (Fox)