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, for the most part Michael Patrick King’s Sex and the City – the movie – is the success longtime fans of the series 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. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) has published three books and is in a stable relationship with long-time on-again off-again boyfriend Mr. Big (Chris Noth). Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has relocated to LA, 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. And Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is living “the family life” with Steve (David Eigenberg) in seemingly far-away Brooklyn.
Carrie, formerly a columnist specializing in sex and the search for love, focuses her research on what happens after one actually finds love. Her upcoming move-in with Big prompts the couple to decide to get married. Their plan for a simple, label-less wedding spirals out of control into a 200-guest affair that lands in the gossip columns. Although the girls could not be happier for Carrie, Miranda accidentally lets her relationship misfortunes spoil what should be Carrie’s happy ending.
With only a few explicit scenes, the film shifts its focus from love-making to love-saving. A grand theme of forgiveness reigns, with the girls searching to save their love for each other and for their partners. The series ended with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda all finding love, but the film shows that the girls have learned that there is more to their lives than the men in them.
Following a series as successful as Sex and the City would be a difficult task for any writer/director. So it should come as no surprise that even though King creates a storyline in keeping with the theme of the series, the film’s rhythm falls short. There are times when the feature feels rushed, as though too many events and too much information are being crushed into a short period of time. Additionally, the tone often feels flat and silent, causing this viewer to wait for the jokes for which the series was known.
The most surprising downfall is the overwhelming sadness felt by the girls – and consequently by myself. While the four main characters have faced their fair share of obstacles over the course of the series, none felt as somber and depressing as those in the film.
King does, however, bring back minor characters, all of whom have a major impact, in addition to introducing a new addition to the cast in the form of Louise (Jennifer Hudson), Carrie’s assistant.
Costume designer Patricia Field’s work is a mega-success in and of itself. Her choices are works of art, capturing this viewer’s eye at 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.
References to 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. In the end, Carrie and Big find themselves in the same position as their first date.
Despite its faults, Sex and the City is a successful small-screen-to-big-screen transfer. This viewer, for one, was drawn back into the world I have grown to love while becoming reacquainted with characters who are difficult to forget. It is easy to “get Carried away.”
© Lauren Creamer
Lauren Creamer is a writer and translator with a passion for French culture.
Sex and the City (2008). Dir. / Scr.: Michael Patrick King. Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris North, Candice Bergen, Jennifer Hudson, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Mario Cantone, Lynn Cohen, Joanna Gleason