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Movie Review: The September Issue (2009)

During the sort-of social media/blogging break I recently took, I fell into a rabbit’s hole of watching movies on YouTube’s movie and TV show channel. I couldn’t go out and watch movies in the movie theater like I wanted to, so watching the channel really helped me feed my need for new movies without needing to leave the house.

Even though YouTube offers movies that can be bought or rented, I prefer the free with ads section. Basically, you can watch the movies and TV shows without paying a fee to watch them. You do need to sit through ads, but I never noticed if they are more annoying or intrusive than watching normal YouTube videos with ads.

After watching many of the movies available for free with ads, I found The September Issue. I watched it many years ago, but I forgot most of the movie. Since it was available to watch, I thought it was the perfect chance to watch it again, but this time for free.

YouTube’s description of the movie is as follows:

An intimate, funny and surprising behind-the-scenes look at VOGUE’S legendary editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her team of larger-than- life editors, the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Winner tells the captivating story of how they create the must-have bible of fashion: THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE. Director R.J. Cutler delivers this riveting look into the world of fashion that is as fun, fabulous and fast-paced as the world it captures.

As I watched the film, I realized I remembered quite a lot about the film, but my memory combined the movie  with another Vogue magazine documentary. Despite this memory mistake, I enjoyed watching the film. As the description of the movie says, the documentary is about how the staff of American Vogue makes the September issue of the magazine. The September issue is the largest and most important of all the issues Vogue publishes. The documentary follows several staff members, including Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, then Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley, then creative director Grace Coddington, and designer Thakoon Panichgul, as they work to create the September 2007 issue of the magazine.

The documentary shows many aspects of creating the magazine. One of my favorite aspect of creating the magazine was showing the planning of photoshoots, the actual photoshoots, and deciding which photographs make it into the magazine. It was interesting to see what Anna Wintour picked to be in the magazine and why. Also, I found it interesting that Anna and other members of Vogue’s staff got to choose the clothing items directly from the designers before the runway shows for Fashion Week. Also, I found the photoshoots interesting, especially for the cover of the September 2007 issue. The shoot took place in Rome and had complications, including no photographs taken of a specific dress at the Colosseum.

Even though I really enjoyed watching the documentary, I can see non fashion fans or anyone without a working understanding of how publication magazines will not be able to catch on. There are a lot of missed details, such as why themes for photoshoots needed to be in the September issue. Also, they did not talk about the kind of articles in the September issue. There was a mention about the articles near the end of the movie, but that was it. I suspect the reason why these topics were omitted, or possibly ignored, in the movie is due to a need for secrecy. Since the fashion industry is extremely competitive, and so are the fashion magazines that cover the industry, there is a need for trade secrets to be kept secret. Still, I wish they would touch, even abstractly, on the topic.

I liked this movie and highly recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in fashion or the American Vogue magazine. It is a well done film, but it can be harder to understand to a laymen of fashion. For them, I recommend another documentary, The First Monday in May, which is about the Met Gala.

Well, that’s all for now! Thank you for reading!

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