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The September Issue
DVD disk
02.26.2010 By: Mathew Plale
The September Issue order download
Director:
R.J. Cutler

Actors:
Anna Wintour
Grace Coddington
André Leon Talley

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
This documentary captures Vogue editor-in-chief as she wrangles her staff into creating the September 2007 issue of the fashion magazine, which turned out to be the biggest in publication history.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour would have been a fascinating character to observe at the offices on a regular work day (if there is such a thing at the publication). That we see her spearheading the September 2007 issue--the issue--of the fashion magazine makes R.J. Cutler’s documentary all the more engaging.

The issue, which contained 840 pages and weighed nearly five pounds, is the biggest edition of any monthly magazine in history. How it gets done on deadline with the clothing racks jamming the hallways and the days spent trying to find a cure for cover girl Sienna Miller’s hair (looked fine to me!) is something of a miracle.

But these are professionals. They have to be if they’re working for Wintour. But no, she is not the bitch some might think (she’s rumored to have been the inspiration for Miranda Priestly, the abusive ice queen of The Devil Wears Prada). She leaves some crying and defeats those staffers that don’t bring a superior product to her desk, but that’s how things get done.

Less intimidated by Wintour’s heel is Grace Coddington, a former model who now works at Vogue as creative director. Because she isn’t afraid to butt heads or share awkwardly silent elevator rides with Wintour, Cutler turns her into a key supporting character and captures a compelling dynamic for the film.

Male viewers (or, potential ones) may immediately be scared off by the fact that The September Issue immerses itself in--eek!--fashion. Sure, most wouldn’t know the difference between Vera Wang and Wang Chung (answer: one is of Chinese descent, the other is British), but that quickly becomes irrelevant to the story.

It’s also likely that most (women included) who watch the doc will have little input on matters such as why Wintour insists on more fur for the issue or if dark green is really worth rolling eyes over. They might not even initially recognize Wintour, even underneath her signature bob hairdo and black, round sunglasses. But The September Issue, like the world it depicts, is still awfully consuming--that’s coming from a guy in a pit-stained David Bowie tee and faded high school gym shorts.
THE EXTRAS
Disc One:

Audio Commentary with director R.J. Cutler: This track is a solid follow-up to the doc, with Cutler, in between bouts of silence and praise for his crew, dishing out a wealth of behind-the-scenes info on The September Issue.

Deleted Scenes: There are four on Disc One, titled “7th on Sale,” “Grace and Her Inspirations,” “André Visits Paris,” and “Thakoon Designs a Dress,“ each with introductory text.

Photo Gallery: This collection of 50+ photographs were taken by cinematographer Bob Richman behind-the-scenes of The September Issue.

Theatrical Trailer.

Disc Two:

Deleted Scenes: There are five sections (“Anna Wintour,” “Grace Coddington,” “André Leon Talley,” “Thakoon,” and “Sienna Miller, Complete Cover Shoot”) that clock in at over 80 minutes, treating fans to more dimension and character screen time.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The September Issue is an absolutely fascinating documentary about one of the biggest achievements in publication history and, most impressively, not just for fashion aficionados. With that, and over 90 minutes worth of deleted scenes, this “2-Disc Double Edition” is an easy recommendation.
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