One might wonder how Sex and the City: The Movie could further the story, when the show ended on a high note, each woman finding her place in the world. Well, further the story it does. These women are five years older and five years wiser, and still the best of friends. We find that Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) seem to have found domestic bliss in their respective marriages; Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) has moved out to Los Angeles; Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is now an author, and she and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) are still together ... but will they end up together after all?
Jennifer Hudson takes a well-played turn as Carrie's assistant and a host of side characters play their parts with panache. The characters remain true to themselves; there are no huge plot gaps or sudden moves on the writers' part. Things progress much like they did in episodes of the TV show -- there is a tidy ending that, while not radical, at least gives us a sense of finality. Everyone is ultimately searching for their real-life happy ending.
Clocking in at 142 minutes, the film never drags, but is given the proper time to work out a full-length story, juggling four characters with ease. Along the way, the film exposes a kind of vulnerability that comes with age, and with the fact that these women have known each other for twenty years, standing through marriages and divorces, loves won and lost, the deepest heartaches and the greatest triumphs. No long as tough or brash as they once were, the stakes are higher now as there is a great deal more to lose for each character.
Luckily, the laughs come easy and remind us not to take the film too seriously, even in the more melodramatic moments. The questions that defined the series take center stage once again: those who we love us the most fully have the power to hurt us most deeply; can we ever forgive their wrongs? In an absolutely touching scene, Carrie rushes through the streets of snowy New York City, as each character is shown in their own private moment on New Year's Eve. In a starkly beautiful moment of filmmaking, the song "Auld Lang Syne" plays as Carrie finds a way to remind us that though we may try to isolate ourselves from others through distance or the darkness of our own loneliness, we are never truly alone.
More than anything, Sex and the City came to be about so much more than the title suggests. It's easy to get blindsided by the fashion and the martinis, the shoes and the silliness. It's all too easy to dismiss the show as catering to certain fantasies or perpetuating lies about women. If only it were that simple. Of course, there have been salacious moments and there has always been the endless adoration of New York City. But as the series progressed through six seasons, we came to know these women as so much more than strong and fiercely independent. The fact cannot be ignored that at its heart Sex and the City is about the quest for love. These four women are romantics at heart, and though the relationships they maintain and encounter are as varied as their own personalities, they consistently hold out for deep and abiding love. In many ways, Sex and the City is a throwback to a time when women and men adored each other, realized that relationships are more than difficult, and yet believed in the possibility that love could last a lifetime.
So strap on your high heels, throw expectations or preconceived notions to the wind, and see this film with someone you love. While it's easy to sneer or mock, the truth is that cynicism will only get you so far. The love that pulls us and keeps us together is the only thing that lasts.
Want to hear Amanda's take too? We called her on the phone - listen below!