Friday, September 25, 2009

The September Issue - Movie Review

The September Issue (PG-13) C+
Vogue's Saving Grace

Starring Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Andre Leon Talley, Patrick Demarchelier and Oscar De La Renta.

The September Issue sounds like the name of a silly teen comedy where the lovable high school underachiever lands a date with the September Playboy centerfold... Fortunately that's not the case, this is the award winning documentary film (2009 Sundance Cinematography Award) that follows the trials and tribulations of publishing the most sought after issue of Vogue magazine.

I had no idea that this issue was so vital. I was expecting to learn more about the infamous Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief, and the inner workings of one of the world's most successful fashion publications. But the film fails to provide insight to what makes Wintour tick. Instead it portrays her as the mysterious, apathetic and powerful lady boss (a little like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada). Personally I think she was playing up her abstruse image for the camera, but either way she is undoubtedly a polarizing figure.

The September Issue is pretty straight-forward, there's not a lot of depth to what it's trying achieve or convey. Yet somehow it works and is ultimately an interesting film even though it never really "WOWed" me. If not for the lovely Grace Coodington, Vogue creative director, this film would've been a snooze. Coddington is Wintour's most vocal adversary within the office and also her greatest strength. The two may not always see eye to eye but together they make one helluva team.

In retrospect, I'm not sure why any straight guy (like myself) would voluntarily see this film on his own. But as a writer, and a cinephile I'm glad I did.

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