Sex … And the City: A Review from Singleness

Yes, you’re right. I rushed out to see Sex and the City on opening night … along with the thousands of others here who thronged to the Arclight and The Grove. We waited in line for 45 minutes, and that was AFTER we got the tickets. I have never been to a movie where the audience … especially girls … erupted in screaming and applause at the first sight of opening credits and sound of the famous “Sex and the City” soundtrack. It was like the opening of an Oprah show. Why the excitement? Because the girls were back since they left us in 2004, and we knew they would bring a lot of entertainment value, say the things we wish we could say, and inspire us towards believing in the possibility of love.

I was a late comer to the HBO tv series. Not only did I not subscribe to HBO, but I perceived the show to be about … sex (and of course, sex is bad). I later discovered that the show is not really about sex, or the city … but about friendship, being single, and the search for love. Those are all topics that I can understand, and so I fell in love with the show and its characters a couple of years ago. I eagerly anticipated the movie, and it lived up to every expectation, and exceeded them for the most part. I thought the writing could have been a bit more witty and funny like the original series, but the overall character development and story was pitch perfect. It was just more serious than I expected, and there weren’t many memorable “one liners” to continue quoting at opportune moments.

The girls were back as their normal selves — Carrie was ready to tie the knot with Mr. Big and looking fabulous as always for a fashion and label queen; Miranda was struggling like many middle aged women to keep a career, care for her children, and maintain some fire in her struggling marriage; Samantha was still her sex-obsessed self but finding herself tamed by a monogamous relationship with her younger man in Los Angeles; and Charlotte was living her perfect clean cut married life, but with some internal fears that kept her from really living. The girls were together again in New York City, and this time they were more mature, a bit older and dealing with the realities of life and age.

I suppose that some of my married friends … especially those that got married at a younger age … might find it difficult to appreciate this film the way single people do. I suppose there also is some difference in the way that women and men experience singleness at an older age that would make this film more enjoyable for single women. But the film speaks to universal experiences of singles that makes us all come back for more … and that’s why it will be a blockbuster film. No other series or movie quite tells the truth about singleness and sex the way SATC does.

That is not what a lot Christians want to hear. Some will avoid this film because it has nudity and graphic sex, and I certainly respect that viewpoint (but so does the Bible … for the record). While I think it would be impossible to tell this story honestly without sex in the film, I did disagree with the choice of the director to use sexual scenes that were not “sexy” but shocking. That is rarely the right directorial choice … as well as the right moral choice. With that said, the film tells the truth about singleness and sex in a way that people should hear. One girl who reviewed the film for Christiainity Todayput it this way:

“For years, good churchgoing friends of mine secretly raved about Sex and the City. They told me that I, a 30-something single woman (and a singles columnist to boot), would appreciate the randy little show. I was a late adopter only because I didn’t have cable. When the somewhat sanitized version showed up on WGN, I was intrigued. I could’ve done without the “man-izing”—and definitely without the nudity, when I rented the original version. But it was refreshing to have a single woman’s sexuality acknowledged. In stark contrast, the last time anyone in a Christian setting spoke to the fact that I’m a sexual human being was in a college church group, where I was blithely instructed that “true love waits.” Well, 15 years later, it’s still waiting. And it ain’t so blithely simple.

Most of the few Christian voices speaking to the growing single segment of the population offer ten easy steps to find our soulmate. As if it’s that wondrously simple. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, however, show how challenging it really can be for intelligent, accomplished, and admittedly neurotic women to find lasting love. They, unlike many Christians, don’t insult my intelligence. Instead they speak to the complexities of relationships in a postmodern age—addressing baby lust, the mommy wars, sexual temptation, dating outside your “class,” commitment-phobia, the reluctant desire to be rescued by a man, and the simultaneous fear that you’ll lose your own hard-won identity in the process. Yes, materialism and hedonism abound. But so does a messy wrestling with complex new realities of life that I wish I saw more of in Christian circles.”

In her wonderful book “Real Sex”, Christian author Lauren Winner takes on the subtle Christian and cultural notion that women are not sexual. “Sex and the City” brought the sexual side of women out in the open, and it said the things women really say about sex to each other but never in public (just go to a womens’church retreat for starters, not to speak of bars or brunch). But for all of us, the series and the film tell one honest truth: We all are searching for love, and sometimes along the way, we confuse sex, or the longing for it, with love. It’s important to learn the difference, and finally at middle aged, the girls do.

It takes a while to learn the difference, and for life to come together where we love ourselves, love others and fall in and out of love appropriately. I’ve not been glad to live forty years without true lasting love, but I do feel that my life is more complex and rich because I’ve struggled for it like Carrie, and not been given it easily or quickly. But SATC tells an important truth: That loves comes around, and we grow in forgiveness, friendship and character while we wait. And in the end … that’s a beautiful thing, and a beautiful film.

2 Responses to “Sex … And the City: A Review from Singleness”
  1. MLW says:

    Well said!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love the SATC soundtrack sooo much!! All the songs fit the movie perfectly!! I love love love The Weepies song All This Beauty! It’s amazing. I found this cool ecard if anyone wants to listen to it!!’s awesome!

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