films (The Devil Wears Prada a Few Good Men), report research themes strongly depict ethical moral choices actions characters, roles, dilemmas. The themes: followership, abuse power, moral decision making, altruism, shadow casters.
Films have along time been sources of amusement, inspiration, contemplation, or reflection. "The Devil wears Prada" and "A few good men" are all these things. They represent movie creation filled with questions and morals that transformed them in subjects of interpretation and reflection for the themes both these films touch upon.
The present paper analyses these two films from the perspective of the moral message they try to send across. More precisely, both these films have similarities and differences in terms of the way in which they tackle the issue of honor, leadership, follow ship, power and abuse of power, decision-making and moral strength. From this perspective, the paper addresses the subjects of these two films in order to point out their full meaning content and their strong reliance on the values and elements mentioned.
The structure of the paper therefore consists of the analysis of five important elements, themes both for the society we live in as well as for the content of the films. These are followership, abuse of power, moral decision-making, altruism, and shadow casters. The first part of the paper sets in brief the subjects of the two films and presents the major themes for each. The second part presents the characters that give life to the themes predominant in the films, with their actions as proof of each assessment. The third part of the paper offers a more academic oriented perspective of the major themes of the films in order to provide a support for the argument that indeed, these films depict important aspects for the core of the society. In the forth part of the paper, a personal assessment is provided with personal views expressed related to the films and their message. Finally, the concluding part expresses the main aspects the two films have brought into the discussion on moral fiber and composure.
Part 1. Overview of the plotand major themes of "The Devil wears Prada" and "A few good men"
"The Devil wears Prada" represents the story of a young, smart, and aspiring journalist, Andy Sachs, who reaches New York with a clear ambition of becoming a new star in the journalistic world. However, by chance, she is caught up in the moment and is hired at one of the most important fashion magazines in the city, "Runaway" as the personal assistant of Miranda Priesly, the editor in chief. This assignment taken successfully for a year would have guaranteed Andy a place in the top elite of the journalistic world of New York. With this aspect in mind, Andy, reluctant at first, takes the position. The reluctance is clearly seen by the way she presents the news to her friends who even ask her if the interview was "by phone."
The adventures Andy experience in the job of MsPriesly transform her and her views on life, priorities, and self-esteem and assurance. At the same time though, she learns the way in which the fashion world works as well as the profession of being a journalist. Although she almost never exercises her profession, she manages to accept all sacrifices necessary to succeed in her endeavor.
From the point-of-view of the themes chosen, two major themes can be considered. Therefore, this film explores the themes of followership and abuse of power in order to send a very important message across, related to the way in which Andy manages to undergo a moral and physical transformation to attain her eventual goal.
By comparison, in "A few good men," the story revolves around a different type of environment, perhaps in opposition to the first one. In this sense, while the first film depicts the world of the rich and famous, with a clear focus on the limitations of certain characters to strictly material thoughts, in the second film, the story revolves around the issue of morality, of military training and honor and, perhaps more importantly, around the issue of duty. Therefore, the subject of the second film relates to a criminal case taking place at Guantanamo, Cuba, where two soldiers, Louden Downey and Harold Dawson, are accused of murdering one of their colleagues, Private Santiago. The focus of the plot is in fact the trial of the two, where Daniel Kaffee is the defense attorney for the two. He is an inexperienced junior lawyer who acquired his reputation through his negotiation techniques of winning all his cases. The plot thickens as the superior of the two marines, Jessep, is proven to have been involved in the murder of Private Santiago. The reason for his murder is the follow of the "code red" technique which is a punishment method used in the Navy to educate disobeying soldiers.
The film is full of underlying meanings and emphasis. From the point-of-view of the way in which the creators of the film as well as the writer of the book portrays the military world and honor as well as the moral conditions of the soldiers is excellent. Throughout the film, there are certain themes that are recurrent and represent the centerpieces of the plot. These include followership, abuse of power, and moral decision-making. These prove essential keys in the way in which characters are constructed and the plot is developed.
Part 2. Characters and their themes
The theme of followership is important for most of the characters in "The Devil wears Prada," except Ms. Priesly. In this context, she is the clear representative of the leader. However, it can be interpreted that all the characters that make her world and agree with her are followers, from her secretary, Emily, to Andy in the beginning of the film.
Emily represents from this point-of-view the traditional relatively hard working assistant that is trying her best to please the leader. This is obvious from the early beginning of her own relationship with Andy, when she presents Andy as "nobody" largely because Emily had a poor impression on her and did not want to present Andy to Ms. Priesly after Emily forgot to reconfirm an appointment for a cosmetic treatment. This scene is important because it points out the eventual attitude Emily has towards Andy up to the end of the film. Despite the fact that Emily remains in the fashion business, she refuses to forgive Andy for leaving to Paris with Miranda Priesly.
Another type of follower is also Andy herself. Indeed, her character being the lead role is much more complex as she suffers transformations from one point to another of the plot. However, in the beginning her aspiration is do her assignments to the best of her abilities, which also implies to become a part of Miranda's world. The character of Andy is a follower in the sense that she accepts compromises for obtaining her goals. These compromises include her friends, her boyfriend, her father. Miranda is in this sense strictly associated with Andy's success and therefore Andy is doing her best to perform at the standards imposed by Miranda.
The theme related to the abuse of power is connected with the character of Miranda Priesly. Among the first scenes of the film, when Miranda arrives at the office, is a clear example of the way in which her staff viewed her: as a tyrant. The reactions of the staff as they prepared in hurry for her arrival express the tension Miranda was constantly applying on the employees as well as the actual power she had over them. Miranda is in this case the typical emblem of the abusive leader.
Miranda exercised over Andy an intense pressure and powerful attitude. She eventually confesses that when Andy proved her loyalty for Miranda, she saw herself in Andy. It is possible that this abusive power (the errands Andy had to do for her, the absurd requests such as the desire to leave Florida on a hurricane) to be interpreted as a means through which Miranda tried to stretch the limits of Andy to improve her. However, even so, this was done through an abusive exercise of power.
A similar situation was obvious in the "A few good men," where the abusive power element is clearly seen in the character of Jessep, the head of the unit in Guantanamo. As it is proven eventually, as a result of his orders, the two soldiers applied Private Santiago the "red code" punishment. In this case, the need and desire to improve private Santiago was well explained by Jessep. Still, by the application of an extra judiciary correction, Jessep clearly abused his powers and determined the death of a human being.
The abuse of power in this film however is somewhat motivated by the military code and conduct which provides a totally different set of norms and rules by which soldiers in general must behave. In this sense, the code of honor, that of…