"If you study the book, there is not a strong narrative that propels the plot forward," Elizabeth Gabler, the president of Fox 2000, told Variety. "That required quite a bit of invention and trial and error. And since there wasn't a strong third act in the book, we needed to invent that."
Honestly, that tidbit explains a lot about why the movie version is often considered better than Weisberger's original book — which is pretty rare, considering how frequently fans of books are disappointed by film adaptations.
Although the book and movie are very similar, here are five reasons why "The Devil Wears Prada" is superior as a film:
Jumping off the studio executive's comments in Variety, there's a lot more drama in the third act of the movie. Andy (Anne Hathaway), the put-upon assistant working for demanding Runway fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), is traveling with Miranda in Paris during fashion week — she goes to the coveted event instead of Miranda's first-ranking assistant, Emily (Emily Blunt). In the book, Emily simply gets sick and can't attend.
In the movie, it's much more juicy, as Miranda chooses Andy to go with her … and Emily sees it as Andy stabbing her in the back. There's also another subplot about Miranda betraying her longtime loyal deputy, Nigel (Stanley Tucci), just to drive home the fact that she's the worst. Oh, and Andy hooks up with super-hot author Christian (Simon Baker); in the book, they just flirted.
The movie had a much more satisfying ending. In the middle of fashion week, Miranda (usually cruel and verbally abusive) has a rare moment of humanity where she tells Andy, in so many words: "You remind me of myself when I was your age." Andy is horrified, as she realizes having anything in common with Miranda is not a good thing. Almost instantly, she walks away and quits, mere minutes before a stunned Miranda has a chance to fire her.
In the book, it's implied everything works out for Andy, though readers don't really know. Her boyfriend, whom she ditched all the time for Runway-related obligations, is pretty much done with her, disgusted that she let Miranda take over her life. The book ends as Andy gets ready to go to a job interview at another publication, so maybe everything is happily ever after? She and Miranda definitely never speak again.
In the movie, however, things are much clearer. Andy's boyfriend basically agrees to give them another shot. Then, Andy lands a job interview at a newspaper where the editor tells her that he got a fax from Miranda, which states that Andy was the most disappointing assistant ever … but the editor would be an idiot if he didn't hire her. During the final scene, Andy sees Miranda on the street about to get into a car and waves. Miranda ignores her, yet after she gets into the car, a fond smile slides across her face. Closure!
3. The humanizing of Miranda
In the novel, Miranda is essentially a monster and you never learn why. She's been divorced multiple times and doesn't seem to care. While she's an excellent and successful editor, she treats everyone around her like garbage at all times and is just a miserable person.
However, there are multiple scenes in the movie that try to soften Miranda. Sure, Streep's portrayal is scary, though it also shows Miranda having marriage problems — she's devastated when her husband files for divorce. "Another divorce splashed across Page Six. I can just imagine what they're going to write about me," she says to Andy. "The Dragon Lady. Career-obsessed. Snow Queen drives away another Mr. Priestly." Miranda nearly breaks down in tears when she thinks of her daughters seeing the tabloids.
Frankly, the characters are just way more likable than they were in the book — though perhaps that's unfair, considering the stellar cast. Streep got a best actress Oscar nomination as Miranda, so that should tell you everything you need to know. The book describes Emily as your typical Runway magazine robot, obsessed with couture and no real personality; in the movie, Blunt plays her as a hilarious weirdo. And Andy whined her way through the book about how hard her job was; in the film, Hathaway portrayed her as fairly humbled.
Again, maybe unfair, but it's a book about a fashion magazine — it's hard for book pages to compete with actually seeing the world of Runway come alive, especially with all the incredible clothes. Bonus points go to the opening scene of the movie, which compares and contrasts Andy to the rest of the Runway staffers ("the clackers") and how they get ready for work, i.e., Andy scarfing down an onion bagel while the clackers carefully measure six walnuts. It's the perfect way to set up the contrast for the rest of the story.
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