My friends and I have been waiting since February for the Sex & The City movie. Tonight was opening night! We bought our tickets two nights ago, as the movie times were all sold out in downtown Portland. I could only find tickets at Cinetopia, a theater catered to adults 21 and over, with a bar, restaurant, wine room and special events. Cinetopia is in Vancouver, so it’s a little hike across the Columbia River, separating Oregon from Washington.
I rushed home with excitement after work. I put on a pair of ‘good’ jeans, a billowy silk BCBG shirt with a plunging neckline, a funky matching smoky topaz necklace, a green puff sleeved jacket from Anthropologie with striping the same color as the smoky taupe shirt, and a great pair of shoes. Not Manolos, but fabulous enough. I shined up my hair, added more dramatic make-up and grabbed a gold glitter clutch. I was ready for the ultimate girl’s night out.
I met Kerry at Ten-01 in the Pearl, imbibing a champagne cocktail at the outdoor cafe seating. She had her hair down and styled, and was wearing a very stylish black and white wrap dress. I also ordered the same cocktail - it had Compari and a touch of sugar to enliven the bubbles. And an orange peel. We loved this bubbly concoction because it wasn’t sweet.
Our friend, Erica, the sommelier came out to chat. She sat down and we gabbed about the food and wine industry, her recent trip to France, work stuff.
Soon after, Susan joined us, as well as another friend and colleague, Stephany – a fellow Virginian. We were celebrating a pre-Sex & the City movie happy hour. It was a lovely evening out, sunny and warm. We happy sipped on our cocktails and ordered some food. Kerry and I shared a half dozen oysters and then I had the duck prosciutto salad with blue cheese and dates. It was delicious. I enjoyed it with a glass of Burgundy.
When we finished our pre-movie celebration, we got into Susan’s car, which was conveniently parked across the street, and we headed toward Vancouver. We didn’t follow the exact directions and took the longer route, which was a little intense because we were behind schedule. They suggested people arrive at 9:15 p.m. to get seats at 9:30 p.m. for the 10 p.m. show time. Well, when we got there and picked up the tickets, the theater was already full with the 3 random seats scattered. Defeated, we left the theater and traded the tickets in for the 10:45 show so that we could sit together.
We checked out the wine bar – it had some really wonderful selections. Finally, at 10:48 Kerry and I peeled ourselves from the wine bar and found our seats with Susan and two of Kerry’s friends.
The lights dimmed. The recognizable jazzy theme song blared and all of the women in the audience started to cheer. It was fabulous! Sex & the City is our football! And this movie was the Super Bowl of our favorite team!!
Now, I’m not going to recap the movie. I will say this – it was luminous, this fab four never looked more fabulous. And there were some great moments. I won’t give a full play-by-play recap of the movie. But, I will give it a review.
And here’s the thing. I really, really, really wanted to love this movie. Kerry and I were shunning the NY Times and other critics who dissed the movie.
But, I gotta say, while just being in the theater with my girlfriends watching this on screen was pretty satisfying enough, the movie left me disappointed. Now, I know this is fictional. These women are characters. It’s a story! But, having been a true fan of the series, which was so smart and well written on the small screen, earning a plethora of Golden Globes and Emmy’s, among a longer list of shining accolades and awards, the film missed it on so many levels.
For one, there were several deep contradictions. For example, at one point a heart-broken Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker – do I really need to include that??), is reading Cinderella to Charlotte’s daughter, Lily, and whereupon the ending reads as every little girl and woman knows by heart, “Cinderella marries her prince charming and they live happily ever after.” Then Carrie looks down at the wide-eyed little girl and says, “you know, that doesn’t really happen in real life. I just thought you should know that now.”
And yet…Carrie gets her saccharine happily ever after. After her prince charming had piteously left Carrie at the altar… wait, it wasn’t even at the altar. He never even got out of the limo! I was never convinced Big was the right man for Carrie, with his cruel indecisiveness and stringing-along practice perfected. Throughout the series, you always knew that Carrie loved Big more than Big loved Carrie. And my mother always said, “marry a man who loves you a little more than you love him.” This is very important advice.
After Big’s display of cold feet and run-away-groom absurdity, I thought for sure she was finally rid of the egotistical, commitment-phobe schmuck. Here, I was hoping she’d run into Aiden all over again! One can only hope…
I will say that the film is fair to Samantha’s character. Her storyline was believable and in tandem with her character arch (from the series). I thought Miranda’s storyline was also fair and true to her character.
Charlotte, on the other hand, who was much more of a complex and interesting character in the series, was reduced to a boring and pregnant wife and mommy. Her life turned cliche and offered no real impact on the storyline, other than a ridiculous bout of Montezuma’s Revenge in Mexico. In fact, Charlotte was just another accessory in the film, even diminished by an inanimate object – Carrie’s Vivienne Westwood bridal gown.
Also trite was the assistant Louise, portrayed by American Idol finalist and Dream Girls Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson. In one scene, over drinks, Carrie offers a sagey line to her young assistant – you date in your 20′s, you learn in your 30′s and you buy drinks in your 40′s. Not sure if that was any real worthwhile advice. Again, the writing was not as sharp as in the HBO series. In any case, Louise claims to have come to New York City for love. But, this never develops while she’s in New York. She never goes on dates or meets men – in fact, the only scene where she’s with a man, he’s glancing at her cleavage and she scolds, “there’s nothing in there for you.” Her character never actually gives New York a chance for finding love. Except for a random booty call she gets when she and Carrie are sipping on cocktails on the said night. Rather, she returns home to St. Louis for the holidays and befalls the fate of many desperate women – finding herself back in the arms of an ex. Sold out in her 20′s! Where’s the dating??? I suppose Louise will sadly have to miss out on all of that dating in her 20′s, and, worse, learning all of the ever important lessons we single women learn in our 30′s!
I will say that my biggest disappointment was Carrie’s fate. Half of the movie, more like two-thirds of it, was spent on her mourning the fact that Big ditched her at the altar. And, yet, over time, perhaps a year, she changes her hair color, hangs out with a suddenly separated Miranda, sharing in their loneliness and bitterness, until she wanders into her emptied penthouse apartment she and Big were to move into as a married couple, to retrieve a precious pair of Manolos, of course, when she…no way!….runs into Big. They have a crazy passionate suck-face kiss and end up laying down in each other’s arms on the wooden floor of the fabulous apartment and realize how much they really love each other. He’s on bended knee and gives her the cliched proposal he swore he was against. Everyone sold out. Even Big.
I don’t know. It just wasn’t satisfying to me. I was kind of sad. The film, that once celebrated an iconic character’s free spirit, romantic hope for finding true love, smart, hardworking, independent single woman status was reduced to a cliche finale. Big’s love for her was never truly convincing. And icon Carrie Bradshaw deserved a happier, better ending!
It actually would have been better if she remained in her apartment, single and writing her fabulous column, articles and books. And still near her fabulous friends, of course. Proving a point that you don’t have to settle for a man you keep chasing and hoping will love you back. You don’t have to settle for anyone. You can, actually, continue to live a satisfying, fabulous life on your own. The film ends with the fab four celebrating Samantha’s 50th birthday – and we get a glimpse that her life is the only authentic, true one. Well, hers and Miranda’s.
The best part of watching the movie, actually, was the opportunity to hang out again with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha for another two and a half hours. These were some of the best roles created for women – ever. Even if the movie fell short.
Their friendship is truly the keystone to the movie and the series. Women weren’t herding to theaters to see these character’s love lives play out. Instead, they wanted to hang out with their girlfriends once more, these four women who tell it like it is and support eachother through the good, the bad and the ugly.
What’s so real and authentic about this program/movie was that it never really lost its footing in the often shallow and materialistic nonsense of Manolos and Jimmy Choos (which is just plain fun, anyhow). It’s clear that that was just the fluff and fun of the story. There’s a real depth to these women’s friendships, and that’s what’s most memorable and satisfying.
In New York, or anywhere else for the matter, love and lovers come and go. But it’s your girlfriends who stick around for the stuff that spouses and lovers could never realize or understand. Well, that was why I was so compelled to go see the movie. It was the ultimate girl’s night out, a date night with my fabulous gal pals - the four on screen and the two sitting next to me. It was the kind of bonding that makes you realize how lucky you are to have your soul sisters.