There’s something fishy about a documentary that takes its cues from a fictional movie, and this glitzy, lightweight effort, which tracks the five-month genesis of Vogue’s 2007 fall fashion issue, labors to inflate a sense of menace around editor in chief Anna Wintour, who inspired Meryl Streep’s bleach-blond dragon lady in The Devil Wears Prada (2006). Director R.J. Cutler is best known as producer of The War Room (1993), a similarly breathless account of Bill Clinton’s first presidential run; replacing James Carville and George Stephanopoulos here are Wintour and Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, who clash over a $50,000 photo shoot. Like TV reality shows about fashion, The September Issue fixates on status and professional one-upmanship; if you want to see a movie that actually treats fashion as personal expression—in other words, art—check out for Anne Fontaine’s Coco Before Chanel. PG-13, 88 min.
Director: R.J. Cutler
Writer: R.J. Cutler
Producer: R.J. Cutler, Eliza Hindmarch and Sadia Shepard
Cast: Anna Wintour, Thakoon Panichgul, André Leon Talley, Grace Coddington, Hamish Bowles, Sarah Brown, Charlie Churchward, Oscar de la Renta, Patrick Demarchelier and Jill Demling