Buttle's World

8 August, 2009

The September Issue

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 8:46

Back when The Devil Wears Prada was picking up Oscar nominations left and right I wondered why. It didn’t seem like that kind of movie. But, then, I hadn’t seen it. A few weeks ago we studied it in a film analysis class at Pixar University.  I learned that it was a very well-written and crafted film, completely deserving of the nominations.

So when it was announced that we’d have a chance to see The September Issue at work I looked up the trailer. I could see that the Prada production designers had done their homework and, already being intrigued by some of the personalities, really wanted to see it.

R.J. Cutler presented it to a packed house in our screening room the other day. The movie far, far exceeded my expectations. This is an engrossing, highly entertaining film about some fascinating characters, especially Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington. The beautiful verité photography by Bob Richman provides some wonderfully observed moments, and his presence in the film has a wonderful payoff near the end.

Wintour comes off simultaneously as a scary force of nature and a really confident woman who simply knows what she wants. There are moments, such as when a photographer on an expensive European shoot delivers a paltry set of photos (and none at all from one location), when she has every right to be angry.

Coddington nearly steals the show. She’s the one person who can go mano a mano with Wintour, and just radiates both her considerable talent and the fact that she’s clearly comfortable with herself. Cutler said it took over half of his 8-month shooting schedule to win her confidence, but it pays off with cinematic gold.

Many people (I’m one) hear the word “documentary” and start to glaze over. Don’t. This movie had us laughing from the get-go, and is surprisingly touching. Wonderfully edited, it’s got a solid three acts and larger than life characters.

In fact, it’s a riot to find that Stanley Tucci’s character in Prada was toned down – waaaaay down – from real life. Let’s just say you’ll see someone who puts the boy in flamboyant.

If brain-dead summer films have you down, The September Issue, rolling out this August and September, could well be the cure. And no, you do not have to have any interest at all in fashion to enjoy it.


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