Sex and the City - Movie Review (An Existential Dilemma)
Sex and the City
I wanted a cigarette to fill my lungs, a bottle of booze to drown out the sounds, a burn, a cut, a bruise, anything I could feel or experience. Instead I stared at a wall which I was certain had images projected onto it, each one combining 24 frames a second to create the illusion of movement. All I could sense was darkness.
The man who sold me the tickets was indifferent as I made my purchased, or so I thought. In the distance, long after I had entered the theater, I imagined he was giving off a loud cackling laugh with maniacal eyes glaring up towards the stars, his hands upright in a tense pose that could only be inspired by pure evil. He must have known what was in store for me. But perhaps no one did. Perhaps no one will ever understand. After all, even after experiencing it, I myself cannot fully comprehend what occurred.
My seat was comfortable enough. My company was the best I could ever ask for. The girl I arrived with sat next to me, and I felt comfortable enough knowing that I was about to receive a film that was particularly tailored to the taste of the fairer sex. It was the Sex and the City Movie. It was based off the hit television series of the same name. The show was heralded for it's charming characters, innovative dialog, and clever scenarios.
At the very least, I expected it to be a better film to enjoy with a girl than Wanted, a film that we recently watched together and which featured James McAvoy ruthlessly murdering as many men as possible.
I settled into the space next to her.
The lights dimmed.
The film started.
For a while, things seemed to be fair enough. I was disinterested but I could tolerate what I was presented with. The characters were dull and uninteresting at their initial introductions, however I assumed the excessive exposition was merely a quick method to bring those in the audience who had not been acquainted with the series up to speed.
Strangely, this exposition continued. The characters appeared to have little or no motivation for any action. The setting was stagnant. The situations were uneventful. The dialog remained vacant of any meaning.
Still, I didn't really care. Besides, I had the pretty girl next to me.
As far as I could tell, the character of Carrie was going to marry a man referred to as Mr. Big. The male character of Mr. Big, although presented as a major player within the film, hardly had much of an introduction as opposed to the female characters. So I merely assumed his name was only an alias used by the mafia, who clearly must have provided him with the money to buy a massive apartment in New York City, renovate that apartment, and then pay Carrie for sex by means of incredibly expensive gifts. Carrie's friends, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, seemed to be part of similar agreements, yet differed in their marital statuses and emotional stability.
I felt slightly uncomfortable at first because I wasn't entirely aware that Sex and the City was actually a documentary about wealthy prostitutes in New York City, but in time I became adjusted to this fact.
After two hours the film reached it's climax with the glamorous wedding between Carrie and Mr. Big. I expected the last minute plot twist of Mr. Big getting cold feet, but I prepared myself for a lovely reunion of the couple somehow within the next ten minutes.
An hour later after that, I started to question the film's desire to actually reach a satisfying conclusion.
I gave a confused glance to the girl next to me as she twirled her hair with one of her hands. She gave a calming smile. I assumed she was enjoying the film, but I honestly couldn't tell. Considering that we tend to have similar tastes when it comes to entertainment, I considered asking her what she thought of the excessive run-time of the film. Instead I opted to wait it out.
Without a watch or access to natural light, I had no grasp of time. As a screen-writing major I knew that a page of dialog equaled roughly a minute of screen time. There was no logical way that a film like this would have ever been completed if the script was a thousand pages long. Yet somehow the characters continued to speak or give knowing glances to one another.
Three additional hours later, I was still sitting in the theater watching unmarried Carrie on her Mexican honeymoon with her three friends. As far as I could tell, there was no character arch. There was no development.
These four characters, they weren't friends. They spent time together, sure, but they weren't friends. They were just four miserable people in terrible relationships interacting in such a way that they could all be mutually destructed at the same time. This wasn't romance, this wasn't a comedy, this was the Cold War on screen. Misery loves company, well the same works in reverse as well. The only happy ending to this miserable story, as far as I could tell, was if these four people never heard or saw each other ever again.
But it didn't end.
I believe six more hours passed until Carrie returned from Mexico and hired a personal assistant to manage her terrible relationships for her.
My God. I thought.
My God. It's not going to end, is it?
I looked to the girl next to me. She sat relaxed in her chair, her legs draped over the seat in front of us. Her hands were folded in her lap and I considered moving one of mine over the cup holder divide to hold them. I needed some kind of contact. Some kind of sign to tell me that I wasn't alone in this.
I couldn't do it.
The air in the theater was just cold enough to keep me in a mild shiver. I attempted to count the seconds, but I lost track after another 60 minutes and gave up.
Carrie just gave her assistant a new purse.
I rubbed my eyes and glanced around. People were still looking at the screen, their passive eyes illuminated by a dull bluish glow.
I must have died. I realized. It must have been sudden, unexpected. I had wasted my life and now I was paying for it. I was condemned to purgatory, an eternal jail cell where my only warden was Samantha Jones, and she was too busy watching naked Mexican guys shower to hear my cries for mercy.
I lifted my arm and placed it on top of the armrest. I didn't know if I was capable of it, but I thought I could inch my way towards the girl.
I was reminded of a man who found himself trapped inside of an office elevator for 48 hours. I watched a security camera tape of his struggle. It had to be played on fast-forward, but hardly any action could be witnessed. He just moved from wall to wall, like a game of ping-pong with no players. Only occasionally would he ever move to the doors to scream for help. No one came. Eventually he curled up on the ground and stayed there.
I didn't know how many days had passed. It could have even been weeks. I watched through the window ahead of me as Carrie settled back into her old apartment after the messy break-up with Mr. Big. I attempted to keep warm as Miranda continued to act cold towards her husband who once betrayed her.
There was no forgiveness in this universe I had been trapped in. There was only the cold merciless law of women.
I tried to move my hand closer to hers. I tried to gain the courage. I began to think that maybe touching her would somehow free me from this endless torture.
I couldn't think of a hell better suited to my own personal transgressions. I have traveled far and wide, crossed this continent alone, yet I have never experienced an isolation as depriving and cold as the Sex and the City movie. Sartre once said, "Hell is other people." He was wrong.
Hell is being trapped in a theater next to a girl you can't touch while on screen Miranda places raw fish on her naked body.
The thought alone elicits chills throughout my soul.
My hand reached as far as it could go, but then fell limp next to her. I couldn't do it. This universe had won. If there was one thing Sex and the City taught me, it was that I, as a mere man, was powerless in a situation such as this. The characters displayed before me were as cold as this very theater.
I accepted my fate. This was all I had now.
Then I was afraid. Apart from this film, there was nothing else. What would happen when the reel burned out? What would happen to this universe? Would it simply disappear? Would my existence merely cease to exist?
I didn't care anymore.
Miranda was going to counseling with her husband. Carrie was learning to forgive.
I wasn't fooled. I wasn't anything. I was just another passive observer in place where time had no significance.
I lifted my hand and brought it back towards me. It was worth the shot.
I folded my arms together.
And just like that, it was over.
The credits rolled and the lights turned on.
Everyone stood up and began to leave.
I didn't know what to expect outside. Would there be daylight? Would there be a world at all?
I didn't know. But just as Miranda found a new beginning as she crossed the Brooklyn bridge to meet her husband, so was I as I stumbled outside into the cold night air.