Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SATC reviewed, finally

I fought the urge to write about it immediately after seeing it. In fairness, it was 2:30am (yes, the very first public screening in Manhattan), so writing was unreasonable if not impossible.

It goes without saying that I loved the show. Its leading lady is a columnist characterized by an unhealthy relationship with shoes and Manhattan. She is inclined toward ridiculous outfits and cheese-ball puns. She doesn’t have a kitchen table. So yes, I am a fan. I don’t care that it’s clich├ęd and overrated, and I can’t defend or explain myself. I just love it – for its clothes and its story lines and the way it actually does cut to a lot of what’s true about relationships, even when exaggerated. For the record, I did not don five inch heels and pre-game with pink cocktails. Even I have my limits.

I thought it was just right. Annoying as usual for its hit-you-over-the-head moments (Carrie reading Cinderella to Lilly – “You know it’s not really like this out there, right sweetie?”) and unrealistic as always with its depiction of Manhattan as an accessible Emerald City (that closet…), but it had enough tug-at-your-heart, real life moments to make it as enjoyable and analyzable as all nine season.

A girl-by-girl recap, of course:

Charlotte York Goldenblatt

  • Miranda: How often would you say you’re happy?
  • Charlotte: Every day.

It was the scene most likely to induced vomit (that and Samantha’s cover-herself-in-sushi move), but Charlotte didn’t bother me half as much as she usually does. She’s happy most days. She has sex four times a week with the not-so-amazing-looking husband she “gave up Christ for.” She’s got that cute adopted daughter (not the original plan) and a biological daughter on the way (“now we’ve got a Rose and a Lilly”- tough to swallow). So she’s happy. Maybe someday she won’t be, or maybe she will be for her entire life. I think in our cynical mentality we sometimes refuse to believe that some people can have life goals, meet them, and be happy most days of the week. Yes she’s crazy, and uppity, and should have been better directed through that weird scene where she yells at Big, but she’s happy – get over it.

Miranda Hobbes Brady

I don’t at all excuse Steve’s indiscretion and can’t say I’d react any differently than Miranda, but I’m glad they got back together. Of course I cried at the Brooklyn Bridge scene. It was happy and sad and real. The pubic hair situation on the other hand...

Miranda’s whole character arch (note application of proper film terminology) has been about being strong enough to let other people in. She, like many of us, thinks there’s more strength in not needing any one or thing – that she's ultimately safer that way. In the end, she decides that while she may not need anything or anyone – she wants them; they enhance her life. She forgives and lets go. It can’t always be about steadfast rules and protecting yourself from pain. Poignant, for me at least.

Samantha Jones

Samantha in LA was a good plot choice. Samantha leaving Smith for New York and her single, self-involved life was a better one. It is who she is. It’s not right for most of us, and its devastating considering how perfect he is, but it’s her reality. I think it’s a rare one, so it’s easy to say “she’s such a fool,” but if you’re going to have a Charlotte you can just as easily have a Samantha. Most people aren’t sure enough of themselves to decide what she decided. She too knew she didn’t need her relationship, unlike Miranda and Carrie she also didn’t want it. That’s all.

Carrie Bradshaw

This one is hard because I’m not a Big fan. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me for nine seasons and then leave me at the altar of our New York Public Library wedding, shame on me. Big is selfish -- always has been. Yes he decided she’s “the one,” and I’m sure it’s true when he says, “I just want you,” but he’s lacks balls and can’t be trusted. Lucky for him, Carrie doesn’t care. She’s compromised herself, let him humiliate her, and learned a lot about forgiveness along the way, but she chooses him regardless, again. That’s her choice to live with. Bottom line, she loves him more than logic. One might argue that she loves him more than herself. But that’s what she wants, and she’ll deal with the life it leads to. This storyline is an exaggerated version, but these relationships are out there in abundance. And in the end, they’re just one of a million different ways you can choose to journey through life. She’d rather have him with all his issues that not at all. End of story. I was happy that they actually got married, even on his conditions. At least her stronger-than-logic love is protected by the law. Still, I wanted Carrie to make the case for that marriage and explain why it was important to her. I felt like there was a monologue missing there, conspicuously replaced by that, "you know this isn't real sweetie" Cinderella moment....

Louise from St. Louise who loves Louis Vuitton.

Ridiculous.


Yes, that was 850 words assessing make-believe characters with psychologist-like attention and far too much social commentary. Like I said, I can’t defend it, but I also absolutely cannot help it. Apparently neither can the 12+ million people who saw it within the first 24-hour. And you know what they say – 12+ million New York women can’t be wrong…or reasoned with.

7 comments:

  1. Didn't see the movie...probably won't but re: Carrie...that's the point of love miss!!!

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  2. I'm a little sad that you dislike the Charlotte plot-line so much. What's wrong with being happy? Why must that induce vomit? Her first marriage was pretty unhappy, yet she remains such an eternal optimist that I guess I think she deserves to be happy now. Plus so much in the rest of the movie was sad that SOMEONE had to be happy, right?

    ...though I concede that the whole "rose and lily" thing was a little over the top.

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  3. sometimes people are happy and sometimes people get hurt. i'm glad that the movie showed the ups and downs. good for charlotte for being happy and good for carrie for allowing herself to be depressed and taking her time to cry and wallow in the dark.

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  4. I agree with the first comment - to find love means taking a risk and putting yourself out there. It also means making choices, whether it's charlotte changing religions, miranda forgiving steve, or carrie deciding to go back to Big. Sometimes these choices aren't easy, but I believe that if you truly love someone, it is always worth it, whether it means moving across the country for them or changing your religion or merely changing the brand of laundry detergent. So good for all those people who made a leap of faith for the sake of love!

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  5. What about knowing between love/sacrifice for the sake of love, and when you're being taken advantage of? Where is the line there?

    How often do the men in this film make compromises? And, for the record, showing up AFTER you left your fiancee at the altar to tell her "she's the one" does not count as a compromise or sacrifice.

    This is still a Cinderella Story and there are more than a few shallow characters. But given that, it's still entertaining and well written/humorous.

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  6. I found the movie to be a bit of a disappointment. Samantha was the only one to give a spectacular performance. The other three were lackluster for sure.

    My suspension of disbelief ended, though, when the primary conflict of the film could have been avoided if Charlotte's daughter kept her hands to herself. Also, in this day and age, wouldn't big have Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda's number?!?! If I was Carrie, I would have ditched him at the end not because he left me at the altar but because he is clearly not resourceful enough in the face of adversity!

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  7. Jessie you know I love you, and I eat up every word you write and I trust your judgment more than I trust my own at times. But I fear that your knowlege of pop culture may be in jeopardy.

    At first I thought it was just a typo when you stated that there were "nine" seasons of SATC, but then there it was again in the Carrie paragraph, another reference to "nine" seasons. Unless there are three secret seasons I don't know about, there were only six seasons of SATC, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to let you live this one down :)

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