Four women discuss the ending of Sex and the City.

Conversations in real time.
May 31 2008 7:46 AM

Spoiling Sex and the City

Four women argue about the clothes, the men, and the ending.

(Continued from Page 1)

Dana: Anyone notice that Miranda never once asked Steve the most obvious thing to ask when you get cheated on:Who was she? Maybe the movie didn't want to make a big thing of the rival, but it seemed unnatural for the subject not to at least come up.

Meghan: OK, but here's what I liked about the movie:that little stretch of real melancholy in the middle after Big jilts Carrie and the gals go to Mexico. There's an amazing moment when Samantha feeds Carrie yogurt in bed. I confess tears welled up in my eyes. (OK, I'm a sentimental pushover.) But that scene seemed to capture something real about female friendship:It gets stronger, in my experience, as you age and become more vulnerable, as you find yourself living with less drama but, perhaps, more pain. And the way that Samantha and Charlotte in particular tend to Carrie after Big leaves her at the altar felt authentic. My favorite moment in the film—the only one I really will remember, I think—is when Big tries to talk to Carrie on the street after he jilts her and Charlotte screams: NO!

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June: Yeah, they looked like soldiers protecting and then retrieving their fallen comrade, then nursing her back to life and eventually health and happiness. There's that war imagery again.

Meghan: Ah, but love is war, my friend. The movie did want us to think that, didn't it? But then it backs away at the last minute.

Dana: When Carrie goes back to the Fifth Avenue penthouse at the end to get her shoes, there's a voice-over line about "going back to our prewar apartment, post-war." The comparison of what happens between her and Big to armed conflict is a pretty explicit, if low-key, theme throughout. But the movie's total divorce from real political events didn't really bother me—SATCneeds to be oblivious in that way. Just imagine how much worse it would have been if they'd attempted to slip in some somber hand-wringing about Iraq in between the lovelorn anguish and the Lacroix gowns.

Meghan: Actually, the moral of the story—if this were a Jane Austen novel—would have to be: Don't let the flower girl hold your cell phone. She makes a terrible go-between. Also, don't let careless friends mouth off at your rehearsal dinner about how much marriage sucks.

June: I've got to say, though, Lily's obviously got taste. I know Carrie's style is mixed-up wacky, but bejeweled phones are heinous, and Lily was right to hide it.

Erinn: I knew the minute I saw Carrie's fiendish bridal headgear that she was going to be jilted. She looked horrible. She was selfish and taking that wedding over the top. And she looked ugly to underscore that.

Meghan: Some mixed messages there, no? You should be a bride, but you shouldn't wear a Vivienne Westwood gown and invite 200 people.

June: I thought she looked awesome in the Vivienne Westwood and mousy in the vintage suit she wore in the eventual wedding. The bird was weird, but Carrie's at her best when she's looking weird.

Dana: The bodice to that Vivienne Westwood gown fit horribly! I guess that was supposed to be the look—it was repeated on a dress at the runway show—but it looked like a giant breastplate sticking out 6 inches from her torso! Part of the ongoing warrior subtext, maybe?

June: Here's my question: Do people really come to New York for love? They come for work and worry that they'll never find love because New York's so weird. (Except gay men, but gay Americans—who are surely one of SATC's core fan groups—were severely dissed in this film. There was the Chelsea "he's hot, oh, he's with a guy" moment, then the Mario Cantone character getting together with Stanford (never in a million years for so many reasons) at New Year's. And that, my friends, was it).

Meghan: June, you're totally right: That theme rang hollow for me. People come to NYC for money and for work. That's in fact how Sex and the City the book opens; with a discussion of the fact that love in NYC is impossible because it's not the point.

Dana: What did you all think of the fact that Carrie and Big do finally end up together, after all she goes through to convince herself that he will never stop doing ... that thing Big does? June, I was thinking in particular about your theory that Big should always be a MacGuffin, that when he becomes an actual character everything falls apart.

June: I do think that Big is better when he's a MacGuffin—a cipher that doesn't even have a name. When I see him reading the WSJ in bed at night (a man like him would have to read that before 8 a.m. or not at all) or cutting tomatoes (everybody did an awful lot of food preparation for New York—I have a lot less money than all the characters but I never so much as buy corn, much less shuck it myself), I have to treat him as a real person, and since he's not terribly convincing as a big businessman/guy-so-rich-he-has-a-driver-with-him-at-all-times, I lose interest and faith.

I did enjoy (you know what I mean) the jilting because of the way the women responded, but Big's actions made no sense. I still don't know what he wanted exactly—but I don't know that I'm supposed to.

Erinn: I think Big was frightened to commit once again to a woman who would always put her girlfriends above him. If I were the bride and my groom spent the night with his guy friends and I called him distressed about the wedding and my groom didn't come home and never picked up my phone calls (OK, for a good reason, but in a moment of panic, who thinks clearly?), and all I wanted was to "walk in" together but I couldn't because he was surrounded by his pals, if I had the guts, I might have bailed too.

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