I saw SATC tonight. I went in Connecticut. James told me that for the theater near his office, lines were around the block. A friend said that at her local theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, all shows the entire weekend were sold out. I knew where I was going in CT we would not have those troubles. But still, being a City gal, I drove to the theater in the afternoon to buy tickets for the evening show. When I arrived a mere 20 minutes early, the theater was empty, except for another woman I knew--from, of course, the City. At show-time, the theater was only half full.
And that describes how I see the movie: half full. Almost totally full. I liked it, and disagree wholeheartedly with the negative New York Times review. The movie was fully in keeping with the TV show and not a let-down in any way. True, no new ground was broken. But for a fan of the show, another two-plus hours of it is a good thing.
I don't sound deep when describing my reaction to the movie--well, it's neither Bergman nor Fellini. It's a soap opera, one I very much enjoy watching. In the movie, Carrie grows up quite a bit. I did not feel the women's obsession with clothing seemed out of step with today's financial climate. When things get tough, isn't that precisely when we want escapist fantasies?
Like most fans of the show, I embrace the depiction of the friendships of the women. That's how my friends would be, I think, if they had all the time in the world to devote to friendship. That's the biggest fantasy of the show, many have said: how much sheer time the women have to talk to one another. Charlotte is as adorable as ever in the movie. At a school I worked at last year, the British drama teacher always called me Charlotte. I'll take the compliment, though I'm not sure it's entirely accurate.
As for the racism leveled by the New York magazine reviewer: bunk. In no way is Carrie's assistant, played by Jennifer Hudson, a servant. David Edelstein in NY magazine called her a "Hattie McDaniel." If she is campy and fawning, I would say that's how Hudson plays her. I don't necessarily think the part was written that way. I also don't necessarily think the part was written for an African American actress--I suspect Hudson landed the role through her connection to famed Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley, who appears in the movie. (It is well known that Hudson is Talley's protegee.)
It is true the show does not accurately represent the diversity of the City in which it takes place. Well, the show was never realistic. And the movie isn't a cinematic masterpiece. In fact, some shots are downright cheesy--like those of the promiscuous guy who lives next door to Samantha, about whom she fantasizes. You know: the shot traveling from his feet to his head as he soaps up in his outdoor shower. (In case you're trying to picture an outdoor shower on Gansevoort Street, you should know that Samantha no longer lives in the Meatpacking District, but in Los Angeles.) But the show always contained scenes like that. In a way, the highest compliment I could pay the movie would be to say it was like another episode of the show. Well, that is how I feel about it: a longer episode, with all things I loved about the show, and all of the things that made me cringe.