The September Issue

Movies Reviews Robert Richman
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Release Date: Aug. 28
Director: R.J. Cutler
Cinematographer: Robert Richman
Studio/Run Time: A&E IndieFilms, 90 mins.

The real life Devil Wears Prada

Filmmaker R.J. Cutler demonstrates once again that—as well as anybody—he can capture the interpersonal dynamics that drive a team of headstrong individuals. Or at least he can shape his raw footage so it seems so. He produced The War Room about Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, and he pioneered reality TV with an innovative series called American High. His latest, The September Issue, documents the internal machinery of Vogue magazine as run by its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour—tastemaker of the fashion world and the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada’s title character. She’s a peach. As she assembles the magazine’s big September issue, she squares off against factions within the industry and within her own editorial staff. When designers and photographers parade their latest creations before her harsh gaze, the film feels like a real-life version of Project Runway or The Apprentice. I’m not sure the film will offer viewers a better idea of what makes Wintour and Vogue tick, but Cutler knows how to entertain, usually by selectively humanizing his characters. Even for those who don’t follow the industry, it’s great fun rooting for creative director Grace Coddington, who steadfastly defends her turf. Cutler makes her the film’s quiet hero.