Director R.J. Cutler's The September Issue isn't just another documentary about the fashion world, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. It's a "lusciously revealing fly-on-the-wall portrait of Anna Wintour," the "electromagnetic" editor in chief of Vogue. The film "is organized so that we observe the ruthlessness, the high perfectionistic logic, of each decision Wintour makes" as she and her staff "labor" to put together one of Vogue's "massive" September issues. I came away from this movie "liking Anna Wintour more than I thought I would" (watch the trailer for The September Issue).
That's not surprising, said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon. "Wintour is nothing if not a shrewd protector of her own image, so you can bet she'll be on her best behavior when the cameras are turned on." She still "comes off as a demanding boss but also a forthright one," and if you've ever worked for someone that's indecisive, "the clarity and directness of Wintour's approach probably won't seem villainous to you."
"Who knows why the infamously aloof and inscrutable editor chose to cooperate" for this documentary, said Melissa Anderson in The Village Voice, "but her blessing seems to account for her kind treatment here—none of Wintour's many detractors speak in the film." And the "quick peeks into Her Highness' inner life break up Cutler's too-often-rushed, montage-heavy countdown of the frenzied months leading up to that behemoth issue's close."