- Sex and the City (2008) movie review: Fans should be happy with first-time feature filmmaker Michael Patrick King’s sequel to the hit television series about four female New Yorkers, their romantic yearnings, and their fashion sense.
Sex and the City movie review: Despite flaws, Michael Patrick King’s big-screen transfer of the landmark TV series is an overall success
When it was announced that Sex and the City would be made into a feature-length film, fans of the HBO series were either overcome with excitement or terrified of being disappointed. Luckily, the Sex and the City movie transfer – by series executive producer (and sometime writer/director) Michael Patrick King – is for the most part the success longtime fans were hoping for.
The film picks up four years from where the series left off. Each of the girls, now in her 40s, has found love (though not necessarily bliss).
Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) has published three books and is in a stable relationship with longtime on-again off-again boyfriend Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has relocated to Los Angeles, where she manages the career of superstar boyfriend Smith (Jason Lewis).
Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is raising adopted daughter Lily with her loving husband Harry (Evan Handler), but has yet to realize her dream of having a biological child.
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is living a less-than-ideal “family life” with Steve (David Eigenberg) in seemingly far-away Brooklyn.
Life after love
Formerly a columnist specializing in sex and the search for love, Carrie focuses her research on what happens after one does find love. Her upcoming move-in with Big prompts the couple to decide to get married.
But there are a couple of issues: Carrie and Big’s plan for a simple, labelless wedding spirals out of control into a 200-guest affair that lands in the gossip columns. And although the girls could not be happier for their friend, Miranda accidentally lets her relationship misfortunes spoil what should have been Carrie’s happy ending.
The series came to a close with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda all finding love, but the Sex and the City movie shows that the girls have learned that there is more to their lives than the men in them.
Through a few explicit scenes, the focus is shifted from love-making to love-saving: A grand theme of forgiveness reigns, as the girls attempt to save their love for each other and for their partners.
What’s with the somberness?
Following a TV series as successful as Sex and the City would be a difficult task for anyone. So it should come as no surprise that even though Michael Patrick King has created a narrative in keeping with the original’s theme, the movie’s rhythm falls short.
There are times when Sex and the City The Movie feels rushed, as too much information and too many events are crushed into a short period of time.
Additionally, the tone often feels flat, which left this viewer waiting for the jokes for which the series was known.
But most surprising of all is the overwhelming sadness felt by the girls – and consequently by myself. While the four main characters faced their fair share of obstacles over the course of the series, none felt as somber and depressing as those in the film.
On the positive side, King does bring back minor characters, all of whom have a major impact, in addition to introducing a new cast member in the form of Carrie’s assistant Louise (Jennifer Hudson).
Besides, costume designer Patricia Field’s work is a mega-hit in and of itself. Her choices are works of art, capturing this viewer’s eye in every corner of the screen.
A special pair of Dior gladiator sandals and a black-studded belt by an unidentified designer make multiple appearances as part of Carrie’s wardrobe, but Field keeps the girls’ outfits both exciting and true to their characters.
Down memory lane
References to Sex and the City The Series are plentiful and would be understood solely by those who know it well.
For instance, as a special treat for longtime fans, the tutu seen in the series’ opening credits makes an appearance as part of a silly fashion show between the girls, while Samantha gives Smith a speech similar to that which she gave to a former lover, Richard. And in the end, Carrie and Big find themselves in the same position as their first date.
In all, despite its faults Sex and the City is a solid small-screen-to-big-screen transfer. This viewer, for one, was drawn back into that endearing world, while becoming reacquainted with characters that are all but impossible to forget.
Sex and the City (2008)
Direction & Screenplay: Michael Patrick King.
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker. Kim Cattrall. Cynthia Nixon. Kristin Davis. Chris Noth. Candice Bergen. Jennifer Hudson. David Eigenberg. Evan Handler. Jason Lewis. Mario Cantone. Lynn Cohen. Joanna Gleason.
“Sex and the City Movie (2008): Life After Love” review text © Lauren Creamer; excerpt, image captions, bullet point introduction, and notes/endnotes © Alt Film Guide.
“Sex and the City (2008) Movie Review” endnotes
Cynthia Nixon and Sara Jessica Parker Sex and the City movie images: New Line Cinema | HBO Films.
“Sex and the City Movie (2008): Life After Love” last updated in October 2021.