Who's In It: Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Mario Testino
The Basics: Every year "Vogue" magazine puts out a gigantic September issue that runs between 500 and 900 pages, depending on the state of the economy. This year's, for example, is 584 because America is currently in the financial toilet. But in 2007 it was a record year, with 840 pages of fashion fashion fashion. This documentary examines how that issue was constructed and how Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief and villainess (fictionalized somewhat) of The Devil Wears Prada, rules the joint with an iron fist and freezer burned, human-being-decimating Power-Face.
What's The Deal: There are really two movies going on here and neither of them is about fashion. One is the film where you witness the strange workplace dance between Wintour and her visionary creative director, former-model-turned-editor Grace Coddington, the one where it seems like Wintour's job on this earth is to crush Coddington's spirit. The other film is a retelling of D Wears P where simpering newcomers who can't hack it are not and never have been the story and where Boss Lady is never shown weakening or regretful in a poignant third-act reveal. Good. Nothing against Meryl Streep but that part always seemed dumb to me.
What's Awesome: Watching Coddington run end-games around Wintour, like when she saves a male documentary cameraman who wound up in a fashion spread shot from the humiliating fate of having his belly photoshopped into slimness. Wintour has just glided through the scene telling the man, "You should go to a gym." Coddington's response: "You don't have to be perfect," she says. "The models are. And that should be enough."
Why It's Worth a Look, Even Though It's Got Wintour's Approval: It doesn't bow down to her. Instead it works through her by presenting her just as she is. You see her in action, making decisions, being as steely, focused and uncompromising as any male CEO, and she doesn't really care if you don't like her for it.
How She Does It, Revealed: In scene after scene Wintour has a blank pokerface, one so cold and detached you wonder if she even notices that another person is in the room. Everyone quivers in her presence, even designers (Shake, Stefano Pilati, shake!), even her own children. And when she stops speaking she holds her subjects (and often the documentary crew's camera lens) in a sort of "I said GOOD DAY!" stare, daring them to blink first. Works every single time.