Ok, ok, i know its not a Bollywood phillum (the technical term for a Hindi flick!) but I have two things to say in my defence. (1) Read my About Me column for a bit of a disclaimer (2) In the most recent Movie Reviews for Bollywood Grooves, there was the regular article, box office analysis and film preview but no film Review. And not a single complaint asking where the movie review for the month is! Shame on all you BG newsletter readers, I would have hoped for at least one person pointing this out!
Anyway, i digress. So, Sex and The City -The Movie. 2004 was a difficult year for TV addicts everywhere as not only did SATC end but so did Friends and left a gaping hole in our viewing pleasure that may be soothed by the reruns on E4 (now on Five Life) and DVD box sets but never truly filled. As we grieved for our favourite shows, talk of a movie felt cruel, raising hopes as well as new worries; would the movie ever live up to the TV series? If so, how? Where was the story going to take the characters? To borrow a phrase from fellow writer Carrie, I couldn’t help but wonder: was SATC the movie setting itself and us fans for a great fall?
As I sat in the cinema (which was fairly packed for the first show of the day, seeing as evening shows are all sold out at the moment) and some overenthusiastic soul applauded and whooped as the BBFC certificate confirmed we had walked into the right cinema, we reached the point of no return. This was it. SATC the movie was now a reality.
The film picks up a little further along from where the TV show finished (helpfully bringing non-fans up to date with a pimped out opening sequence); Carrie and Big are finally together, Miranda and Steve live happily with Brady in Brooklyn, Charlotte and Henry have adopted a young Chinese girl called Lily whilst Samantha and Smith have moved to LA to further Smith’s acting career. Needless to say, the happy ever after does not last for long, as our fab four find out.
At some points, the film feels like one long episode (though fans including yours truly can happily sit through three episodes without interruption) but the real test for the SATC the Movie was whether it could do justice to characters that we feel we know so intimately as well as work as stand alone film. Thankfully, it succeeds on both counts. Sticking to the format from the show, the events are from Carrie’s point of view, with each characters storyline played out as if someone is describing what has happened to them. This was one of the fundamental traits of the show, and transfers easily to the big screen. Though some may feel Samantha’s storyline is wrapped up a little too quickly and that Big does not get the right to reply, these are characteristics that were inherent to the show and as such, make the film blend almost seamlessly with the show.
As a standalone film, SATC the Movie works too, namely as it focuses on the friendship between the four women and encourages the audience (just like it did in the show) to fill in themselves what is not shown on screen. In addition, the pimped out opening sequence does a good job in setting up the characters and the plot, so that even if one is not familiar with SATC, they are at least acquainted with the context. Furthermore, the slick cinematography, the amazing costume design and New York as the fifth character are all features that will appeal to fans and non fans alike.
Now, the fashion. At times, it does feel like one big product placement, with Carrie seen shopping at Diane Von Furstenburg, the extreme close up of an Apple iTouch phone (which Carrie does not know how to operate but she can still operate an Apple Mac laptop, so Apple still get a plug-yay!) and a fashion shoot in wedding dresses (Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang among others for fact lovers out there) but then again, labels have always been a big part of the show and just like the show, the way labels and fashion are used to communicate the feelings and emotions of the characters, whether happiness and confidence or unhappiness and discontent in the characters lives, the labels take a life of their own and yes, it is a big plug but you’ve got to love it! As Bollywood demonstrates, the silver screen is the perfect platform to showcase beautiful clothes and you’ll be forgiven for thinking SATC has the Bollywood vibe with numerous costume changes but to SATC’s credit, this enhances the film rather than hinders it.
The performances in the film are all quite solid too, with all four leads sharing a unique chemistry and backed up by a good supporting cast. Though SJP may have the most screen time, each actress gets ample scope to perform, walking the fine line between comedy and drama with apparent ease. The only criticism is some of the storylines aren’t seen through properly (such as Samantha and Smith) but then if the film had given done this, it may have gotten bogged down in the detail, and would have hampered the film as a whole.
In this time of the credit crunch and world recession, SATC the Movie is the ultimate escape from all of it, underlining that beyond money and labels, friendship and love are far more valuable commodities. Some people may find this sentiment cheesy but every now and then, a cheesy film can be good for the soul. SATC is good old fashion escapism and sits nicely amongst the other films not only in this genre but other films on offer at the moment (yup, Indiana Jones, I mean you) So the verdict then – if you are a fan, you’ve probably already seen it and will love it. Non-fan? Cynic? Put your pre conceived notions to one side and give this film a chance, you’ll be surprised, you may even like it.