The Devil Wears Prada

  • Directors: David Frankel
  • Producers: Wendy Finerman, Karen Rosenfelt
  • Writers: Aline Brosh McKenna, Novel, Lauren Weisberger
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Adrian Grenier

Andrea “Andy” Sachs (Anne Hathaway), an aspiring journalist fresh out of Northwestern University, lands the magazine job “a million girls would kill for”: junior personal assistant to icy editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), who dominates the fashion world from her perch atop Runway magazine. She puts up with the eccentric and humiliating requests of her boss because, she is told, if she lasts a year in the position she will get her pick of other jobs, perhaps even the journalistic position she truly craves.

At first, she fits in poorly among the gossipy fashionistas who make up the magazine staff. Her lack of style or fashion knowledge and fumbling with her job make her an object of scorn around the bustling office. Senior assistant Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt), her co-worker, is condescending to her. Gradually, though, with the help of art director Nigel (Stanley Tucci), Andy adjusts to the position and its many perks, including free designer clothing and other choice accessories. She begins to dress more stylishly and do her job competently, fulfilling a seemingly impossible request of Miranda’s to get two copies of an unpublished Harry Potter manuscript to her daughters.

She also comes to prize chance encounters with attractive young writer Christian Thompson (Simon Baker), who helped her obtain the Potter manuscript and suggests he could help her with her career. Her relationships with her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier), a chef working his way up the career ladder, and other college friends begin to suffer due to the increasing time she spends at Miranda’s beck and call.

Later, back in New York, she meets Nate for breakfast. He has accepted an offer to work as a sous-chef in a popular Boston restaurant. Andrea is disappointed, but her hope is rejuvenated when he says they could work something out. At the film’s conclusion, she is interviewing for a newspaper job. The interviewer reveals that he received a fax from Miranda saying she was by far her biggest disappointment, but that if he did not hire her, he was an idiot. Andrea offers Emily the clothes she wore to Paris, insisting she doesn’t need them anymore. Emily accepts and tells Andrea’s replacement she has some large shoes to fill. In the last scene, Andrea, dressed casually but with a bit more style, sees Miranda getting into her car across the street. They exchange looks and Miranda gives a soft smile once inside the car. She then snaps back to her usual self and impatiently says “Go!” to the driver.

Holocaust

  • Directors: Marvin J Chomsky
  • Producers: Robert Berger
  • Writers: Gerald Green
  • Genres: Drama, History, Romance, War
  • Actors: Tom Bell, Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Marius Goring, Rosemary Harris, Tony Haygarth, Ian Holm, Lee Montague, Michael Moriarty, Deborah Norton, George Rose, Robert Stephens, Meryl Streep, Sam Wanamaker, David Warner, Fritz Weaver, James Woods

Holocaust tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Weiss family of German Jews, and from the point of view of a rising member of the SS, who gradually becomes a merciless, bloodthirsty war criminal. Holocaust highlighted numerous important events which occurred up to and during World War II, such as Kristallnacht, the creation of Jewish ghettos and later, the use of gas chambers. The series ultimately attempted to portray the atrocity of this genocide to viewers.

Doubt

  • Directors: John Patrick Shanley
  • Producers: Scott Rudin
  • Writers: John Patrick Shanley
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery
  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis

Set in 1964 at a Catholic church in the Bronx, New York, the film opens with Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) giving a sermon on the nature of doubt, noting that, like faith, it can be a unifying force. That evening, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), the strict principal of the attached school, discusses the sermon with her fellow nuns, the Sisters of Charity of New York. She asks if anyone has observed unusual behavior to give Father Flynn cause for preaching about doubt, and instructs them to keep their eyes open for any such behavior.

Sister James (Amy Adams), a young and naïve teacher, observes the closeness between Father Flynn and Donald Miller, the school’s only black student and an altar boy. One day during class, Sister James receives a call in her class asking for Donald Miller to meet Father Flynn in the rectory. When he returns, Donald is distraught and Sister James notices the smell of alcohol on his breath. Later, while her students are learning a dance, she sees Father Flynn placing a white shirt in Donald’s locker. On guard for unusual behavior, Sister James reveals her suspicions to Sister Aloysius.

Under the pretext of discussing problems with the school’s Christmas play, Sisters Aloysius and James confront Father Flynn with their suspicions that his relationship with Donald may be inappropriate. Several times, Father Flynn asks them to leave the matter alone as a private issue between the boy and himself but Sister Aloysius persists. The priest relents, revealing that Donald had been caught drinking altar wine. He explains that he had promised the student not to tell anyone about the incident, and that he could remain an altar boy. Having now been forced to break that promise and reveal the truth, he will need to dismiss Donald as an altar boy. Father Flynn tells Sister Aloysius that he is disappointed in the way she handled this.

Following his final sermon, the nuns sit together in the church garden. Sister Aloysius tells Sister James that although Father Flynn has left, he has been given a more prestigious parish with its parochial school, in effect a promotion. She goes on to reveal that she lied about speaking to a nun at Father Flynn’s former church. Repeating a line from earlier in the film that “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God,” she adds that there is also a price. Aloysius breaks down in tears and says to Sister James, “I have doubts.”

The Bridges of Madison County

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy
  • Writers: Robert James Waller, Richard LaGravenese
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Annie Corley, Victor Slezak, Jim Haynie

The film is set in the summer of 1965. It tells the story of Francesca (Meryl Streep), a lonely, insightful Italian Iowa housewife. While her husband and children are away at the Illinois State Fair, she meets and falls in love with a photographer (Clint Eastwood) who has come to Madison County, Iowa to create a photographic essay for National Geographic on the covered bridges in the area. The four days they spend together are a turning point in her life and she writes of her experience in a diary which is discovered by her children after her death.

Out of Africa

  • Directors: Sydney Pollack
  • Producers: Sydney Pollack
  • Writers: Source books, Judith Thurman, Errol Trzebinski, Karen Blixen, Screenplay, Kurt Luedtke
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

The film opens in Denmark as an older Karen Blixen (Streep) briefly remembers hunting in Denmark, then the years she spent in Africa (1914–1931). Looming large in her memory is the figure of Denys Finch Hatton (Redford), a local big-game hunter she met when she arrived in Africa to start what she thought would be a dairy farm together with her husband, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke (Brandauer).

Things turn out differently for her than anticipated, as the blue-blooded but poor Baron has used her money to purchase a coffee plantation instead of a dairy farm. He also shows little inclination to put any work into it, preferring to hunt game instead. While from the beginning, their marriage is depicted as mostly symbiotic (her family has money, while the Baron has a title), Karen does eventually develop feelings for him and is distressed when she learns of his extramarital affairs.

To make matters worse, she contracts syphilis from her philandering husband, which at the time was a very dangerous condition, necessitating her return to Denmark for a possible cure using the (1910) medicine Salvarsan (before the advent of penicillin).

After she has recovered and returned to Africa, a relationship between her and Denys begins to develop. However, after many unsuccessful attempts at turning their affair into a lasting relationship, she realizes that Denys is as impossible to own or tame as Africa itself.

In the film Karen is forced to return to Denmark, following a catastrophic fire that destroys her entire crop of coffee. After more than 20 years, Karen has become an author, a storyteller, writing about her experiences and letters from Africa, and remembering.

Kramer vs Kramer

  • Directors: Robert Benton
  • Producers: Richard Fischoff, Stanley R Jaffe
  • Writers: Avery Corman, Robert Benton
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Justin Henry, Jane Alexander

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman), a workaholic advertising executive is just given his agency’s biggest new account. After spending the evening drinking with his boss, he returns home to find his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) in the process of leaving him.

Ted is left to raise their son Billy (Justin Henry) by himself. Ted and Billy resent each other as Ted no longer has time to carry his increased workload, and Billy misses the love and attention he received from his mother. After many months of unrest, Ted and Billy begin to cope with the situation and eventually grow to deeply love and care for one another.

Ted befriends his neighbor Margaret (Jane Alexander), who at the beginning had counseled Joanna to leave. Margaret is a fellow single parent and the two become kindred spirits. One day as the two sit in the park watching their children play, Billy falls off the jungle gym and severely cuts his face. Picking him up, Ted sprints several blocks through oncoming traffic to the hospital.

About a year after she walked out, Joanna returns to New York in order to claim Billy, and a custody battle ensues. During the custody hearing, both Ted and Joanna are unprepared for the brutal character assassinations that their lawyers unleash on the other. Eventually, the courts awards custody to Joanna.

The film also addresses the predisposition to awarding child custody to the mother.

Mamma Mia

  • Directors: Phyllida Lloyd
  • Producers: Judy Craymer, Benny Andersson, Phyllida Lloyd, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson
  • Writers: Catherine Johnson
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski

On the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, 20-year-old bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) nervously posts three wedding invitations (“I Have a Dream”) to three different men. In response, from across the globe, they set off on their respective journeys.

Sophie’s two bridesmaids arrive and she shares with them a secret. Sophie has found her mother’s diary and learned she has three possible dads: New York-based Irish architect Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Swedish adventurer and writer Bill Andersson (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd), and British banker Harry Bright (Colin Firth). She invited them without telling her mother, believing that after she spends time with them she will know who her father is (“Honey, Honey”).

Villa Donna owner Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is ecstatic to reunite with old friends and former Donna and The Dynamos bandmates, wisecracking author Rosie (Julie Walters) and wealthy multiple divorcee Tanya (Christine Baranski), and reveals her mystification at her daughter’s desire to get married. Donna explains her precarious finances to Rosie and Tanya (“Money, Money, Money”).

The three men arrive, and Sophie smuggles them to their quarters and explains that she, not her mother, sent the invitations. She begs the men to hide so Donna will have a surprise at the wedding: seeing the old friends of whom she “so often” favorably speaks. They overhear Donna working (humming “Fernando”) and the men swear to Sophie they won’t reveal her secret.

During the principal credits, Donna, Tanya, and Rosie reprise “Dancing Queen”, followed by “Waterloo” with the rest of the cast. Finally, Amanda Seyfried sings “Thank You for the Music” over the end credits.

Fantastic Mr Fox

  • Directors: Wes Anderson
  • Producers: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Allison Abbate, Steven Rales
  • Writers: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Roald Dahl
  • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy
  • Actors: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep

A clever fox (Clooney) constantly outwits three evil farmers who are angry with him for eating their produce.

Manhattan

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H Joffe
  • Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne

The film opens with a montage of images of Manhattan accompanied by George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. TV writer Isaac Davis (Allen), is introduced as a man writing a book about his love for New York City. He is a twice-divorced 42-year-old dealing with the women in his life who gives up his unfulfilling job as a comedy writer.

He is dating Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a 17-year old high school girl. His best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), married to Emily (Anne Byrne) is having an affair with Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton); her ex-husband and former teacher Jeremiah (Wallace Shawn) also appears. Isaac’s lesbian ex-wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), is writing a confessional book about their marriage.

When Isaac meets Mary, he immediately takes a dislike to her. Isaac runs into her again at an Equal Rights Amendment fund raising event at the Museum of Modern Art and he walks her home. Mary asks to go out with him for a Sunday afternoon when Yale is unavailable. They stay out all night until dawn culminating in the iconic shot of Queensboro Bridge.

Isaac continues his relationship with Tracy. He also encourages her to pursue an educational opportunity in London. In another iconic scene, at Tracy’s request, they go on a carriage ride through Central Park.

Unable to catch a taxi, he runs for 2 hours to tell Tracy he loves her. He catches her just as she is leaving for England. He says that she doesn’t have to go and that he doesn’t want that special thing about her to change. She replies that the plans have already been made and reassures him that not everyone gets corrupted. He gives her a slight smile segueing into shots of the skyline with Rhapsody in Blue playing again.

The Deer Hunter

  • Directors: Michael Cimino
  • Producers: Barry Spikings, Michael Deeley, Michael Cimino, John Peverall
  • Writers: Story, Quinn K Redeker, Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Louis Garfinkle, Screenplay, Deric Washburn
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller, War
  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, Meryl Streep, John Cazale, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren

In Clairton, a small working-class domicile in Western Pennsylvania during the late 1960s, Russian-American steel workers Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken), with the support of their friends Stanley (John Cazale), John (George Dzundza), and Axel (Chuck Aspegren), are preparing for two rites of passage: marriage and military service.

The opening scenes set the character traits of the three main actors. Michael is the no-nonsense, serious but unassuming leader of the three, Steven the loving, near-groom, pecked at by his mother for not wearing a scarf with his tuxedo, and Nick as the quiet, introspective man who loves hunting because, “I like the trees…you know…the way the trees are…”.

Michael tells Nick that if it wasn’t for him, he’d hunt alone, because the other three guys are “assholes..I love ’em but they’re assholes… without you Nicky, I hunt alone.” Nick asks Mike if he’s scared about joining the Army and going to Vietnam, and Michael shrugs it off. He states his intent to get a deer with just one bullet. “One bullet. The deer has to be taken with one shot. I try to tell people that, they don’t listen.” This motif plays heavily later in the movie.

Back in America, there is a funeral for Nick, whom Michael brings home, good to his promise. The film ends with the whole cast at the wake, singing “God Bless America” and toasting in his honor.