We watched the movie Sunday night. It's supposed to be about the boss from hell, but I think it's more complicated than that.
Miranda (Meryl Streep) might be Satan, but Andy (Anne Hathaway) is not a victim. Potential humiliations challenge her instead. She is seduced. Reinvented. Admit it or not, we all want to be Insiders. We all want to learn the Secret Handshake.
The fashion industry is a metaphor for the power and glamor of the inner circle. The lofty, judgmental boss only makes it that much more desirable to get admitted. Like Miranda says: "They all want to be us."
This is one of my favorite themes. I was there.
It's actually wonderful to drink the Koolaid — to have a next-to-powerful job that consumes you, that you can't explain to anyone because they aren't part of the culture, that drives your loved ones crazy because you never have time for them. Of course you lose touch with the person you once were. Isn't that the point?
Andy had a smooth exit from Miranda's world. Miranda turned out to be gracious enough to open the next door for her — a happy Hollywood ending. In too many cases, the devoted Insider unwittingly falls from grace and gets painfully frozen out of the inner circle. The Secret Handshake has changed and she doesn't get the memo. The ending is bitter.