“In a city like New York, where moving on is a fact of life, is it really possible to revisit the past? And if we do, will old friends and situations still be as dear to our hearts?” – so three years after we last encountered Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha we return again to peek at their lives and see just whether absence has made the heart grow fonder. There is an implicit understanding that the fairytale ending of the series will, to some extent, be turned upside down, for if it wasn’t then there would be no basis for a film. But as with all fairy-tales we hold onto the hope that in the end everything will turn out right and Carrie will marry her Big, wont she?
The girls are now older and when we last saw them they were all happily ensconced – Miranda with Steve and son Brady, Charlotte with Harry and adopted daughter Lily, Samantha with younger boyfriend Smith and of course Carrie with her beloved Big. The greatest challenge for writer and director, Michael Patrick King therefore, was how to create a storyline that did not revolve around the girls effort’s to secure an invitation to the latest bar, or how to obtain the latest handbag, because now they are older and their lives have moved on somewhat. Instead he has focused his attention on their relationships which obviously allows him to show the cracks that are starting to appear; Steve has done something that Miranda can’t bring herself to forgive, Samantha, now living in LA is struggling with Smith and there is an attractive neighbour on the scene to tempt her, Charlotte has against all the odds become pregnant, and still Carrie and Big remain unmarried. Of course the sex is still very much evident but it is less of a ‘who with’ and more of a ‘how often’ which of course reflects the reality of the effect of long term relationships and children.
It is when Big and Carrie set the date for their wedding that everything goes into free fall and on the night before the nuptials it is an uncharacteristically poisonous comment from a thoroughly miserable Miranda that sets Big thinking about whether or not he really wants to marry Carrie. As he tries to ring her the next morning to tell her he has changed his mind she is already on her way to the wedding. Big realises too late that he does want to marry her and tries without success to retrieve the situation. A destroyed Carrie goes on honeymoon with her friends showing that when the chips are down friendship will always come through.
The remainder of the story shows each of the girls coming to terms with their situations and where necessary making life changing decisions particularly in the case of Samantha who ultimately has to tell Smith that she can no longer stay with him. Miranda forgives Steve because deep down she really loves him. Charlotte has her baby and the irony is that it is Big who brings her to the hospital which ultimately opens the door to what we all desperately want to happen – the marriage of Carrie and Big.
We love these girls and we want them to be happy but in a typical fairytale way we have to go through the angst and the trauma to get to that point. I thought I may come away feeling a little cheated by this film but actually like every good fairytale you can watch it over and over again and still shed the odd tear!