“But of course what actors say is crucial: speech establishes character motivation and goals and conveys plot information” (Corrigan and White, 2015 : 189)
“Human speech, primarily in the form of dialogue, is often central to understanding narrative film” (Corrigan and White, 2015 : 189). In ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (2006), it is used to emphasis the points of social expectations of females in society. The following dialogue was taken from the beginning of the film:
Andy : “Not enough girls here eat anything?
Nigel : Not since two became the new four, and zero became the new two.
Andy : Well I’m a six?
Nigel : Which is the new 14.”
These lines depict the fact that social expectations for clothing size for females have gotten smaller and smaller in today’s society. The constant criticizing of the individual clothing sizes in society causes the overwhelming desire to fit in. Andy reveals towards the end of the film that she is now a size four., conforming to this critique. Andrew Joseph Pegoda’s article titled, ‘Women, Societal Expectations of Beauty, and “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006)’, addressed here, highlights the transitions that Andy must endure in order to become this perceived perfect image of the fashion world, through changing her outer appearance and selling herself to the devil (Pegoda, 2013). This connects to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ through the world of high fashion introduced in the film and the standards of style required to succeed at the job at hand. Media is perceived as having a view of how women in society should be presented, skinny and free of blemishes, further explained here.
The repeated use of the line or notion, “A million girls would kill for that job”, is used to emphasise the individuality of the protagonist and how every female, according to the ‘million girls’, should be thinking the same thing. Females are subtly shown in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ as needing to be simple and single minded through the use of this line. This following sequence emphasises the need for Andy to conform if she wants the acceptance she feels she deserves. Miranda can be seen as the ideal image of society’s perfect social female, and not fully appreciating Andy for the work she has done shows that Andy is not seen as a female in society as of yet. It’s encouraging her to change and become another piece of social expectations to get the full right of acknowledgement.
Completely conforming to social expectations is seen in this movie as being completely worth it. ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ has thoroughly glamorized the way females should be presented to society through the way diegetic sounds of the film are dispensed. In a majority of the sequences where Andy is following fulfilling Miranda’s tasks, the diegetic sounds surrounding her become more hectic as the scene progresses. As Andy completes these outrageous tasks, the diegetic sounds become less frantic. Emily even explains that “to get anywhere, you always need to be panicky, nauseous and suicidal” (‘The Devil Wears Prada’). The constant overwhelming diegetic sounds of inner city noises creates an uncomfortable feeling in the viewers that makes us want Andy to conform to the standards set out for her subconsciously. This is partially explained here, again in Pegoda’s article around social expectations of beauty for females. She even finally gets called Andrea, her real name, instead of Emily, by Miranda.
Corrigan, Timothy and Patricia White, The Film Experience: An Introduction. 4th Edition, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015. Print.
“The Devil Wears Prada” Dir. David Frankel. 2006. Film
Pegoda, Andrew Joseph, “Women, Societal Expectations of Beauty, and “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006)”, 2013. Accessed at https://andrewpegoda.com/2013/07/31/women-societal-expectations-of-beauty-and-the-devil-wears-prada-2006/
“The Role of Mass Media in Influencing Women`s Beauty Concept in Lauren Weisberger`s Novel “The Devil Wears Prada”, 2012. Accessed at http://lib.unnes.ac.id/12843/