Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sex and the City: The Movie ... Life and the City: The Reality

There are two movies in which I will readily admit to crying. Steel Magnolias when I was 9-years old and Sex and the City: The Movie when I was 28.

It was everything I thought it would be in a New York that is almost everything I had hoped for. Our plan was to avoid the larger opening-weekend crowds by purchasing advanced Saturday, 10am tickets at Loews 84th Street 6 on the Upper West Side. To secure good seats, we arrived early just in case, but we discovered that even 40 blocks north of Times Square was not a haven from the masses. At 9:15am, there was a line for the ticket counter and a line for the cinema. Groups of girls, who all had the same idea. Some prepared better than others, unpacking bagels and cappuccinos as they took their seats.

Ready and willing to overlook any of the movie's flaws for another chance to watch the next chapters of their lives unfold, my eyes began to well up as soon as the familiar theme song announced the opening credits. I looked around, feeling embarrassed in the darkness and saw the silhouettes of other 20-somethings wiping their eyes. A remix of the show's theme song continued, and the voiceover of Carrie Bradshaw reintroduced each of the characters one by one. All of my friends were crying by the time she got to Miranda.

Even reviews by male critics are giving the movie its share of kudos:
You want to know about “Sex and the City: The Movie”? Here’s the bottom line: It’s going to be a very, very big hit. I saw it on Saturday night at a private screening. Women wept, cheered. It’s the Neiman Marcus catalog on steroids. Read more

Well, not all men.

Sure, the SATC lives are not exactly the lives that my friends and I currently lead and had once imagined before we arrived in New York. But we see versions of ourselves in them. And though our realistic visions are not entirely adorned in Gucci or Chanel (but rather sprinkles here and there), our relationships are mirrored just as richly. For our clique and hundreds of cliques all over Manhattan, this is our New York. As the movie ended, Ra stretched her arms around us and cried, "I love you girls." I began to ball, but tried to disguise it in the darkness by laughing.

Rather than allow ourselves to be completely taken in by the fairytale of happy endings, where all of us achieve everything we've ever wanted, we enjoyed it for what it was: a movie. We knew that the reality of New York City waited just outside the cinema doors, but we had to let ourselves be swept up in the moment, and we embraced it.

A new line had already formed outside of the entrance as we emptied the theater, crying and laughing and temporarily seeing New York through rose-colored glasses. There were a few sprinkles of men gazing about reluctantly and obviously bewildered by the effects of estrogen mixed with SATC. But mostly women huddled together, anxiously anticipating their moment with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. On our faces, they could see that the movie was going to be everything they were hoping it would be.

And so we left the theater and walked out onto Broadway, proud to be the ultimate cliché. Spring in New York. Cliques of girls leaving Sex and the City: The Movie. Heading to brunch. Arms linked. Laughter through tears. Friendships in full bloom.

"... But “SATC” is also not a pratfall comedy. It has nothing in common with “The Devil Wears Prada,” for example. While the caricatures in that film were hilarious, the people in “SATC” are drawn more seriously, perhaps more richly. Also, we know them, and they know each other. They are not competing among themselves for anything. Rather, they are moving forward as a single organism with four personas, for survival.

What’s kind of interesting in “SATC” is that no villain is set up for the women to overcome. No one is standing in the way of each woman’s happiness except themselves. I kind of liked that. The formula is gone. Carrie is not vying for Big’s attention with a rival. Samantha is not shooing off Smith’s girlfriends. The problems are in the relationships, not outside of them. It’s refreshing."

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