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Sex and the City is the 2008 romantic comedy feature-film adaptation of the HBO comedy series of the same name (itself based on the book of the same name by Candace Bushnell) about four female friends living in New York City. The series often portrayed frank discussions about romance and sexuality.
Set four years after the events of the series finale, the film begins with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) viewing apartments with the intention of moving in together. Carrie falls in love with a penthouse suite far from their price range, but which Big immediately agrees to pay for. However, Carrie experiences doubts over the sensibility of this arrangement, explaining that they are not married, and as such she would have no legal rights to their home in the event of a separation. Quelling her fears, Big suggests that they get married.
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is finding balancing her home, work, and social life ever more difficult, and confesses to the girls that she hasn’t slept with Steve (David Eigenberg) in six months. She is devastated when Steve reveals he has slept with another woman, and immediately separates from him. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is living with Smith (Jason Lewis), who has a successful television career. They live in a seaside beach house in Los Angeles, where Samantha is finding it difficult to take time for herself. She is traveling frequently between L.A. and New York, and grappling with her persistent desire for sex with other men; her handsome and sexually active next-door-neighbor, Dante (Gilles Marini), in particular. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is happy in her marriage to Harry (Evan Handler), with their adopted Chinese daughter, Lily.
Carrie’s wedding plans escalate into such a lavish event that Big begins to experience doubts. After an argument with Steve at the rehearsal dinner, Miranda tells Big bluntly that he and Carrie are crazy to be getting married, as marriage ruins everything. On the day of the ceremony, he decides he cannot go through with it, leaving Carrie devastated and fleeing from the New York Public Library, where their wedding was supposed to take place. Big, however, changes his mind and intercepts Carrie as he sees her limousine drive past. Carrie has already been left humiliated and betrayed, and proceeds to attack Big with her bouquet; screaming her dismay at him, while earning furious looks from Miranda and Charlotte. The four women subsequently take the honeymoon that Carrie had booked to Mexico, where they de-stress and collect themselves.
On her return to New York, Carrie hires an assistant, Louise (Jennifer Hudson), to help her move back into her old apartment and manage her administration. Miranda eventually confesses to Carrie about what happened during the night of the rehearsal dinner, and the two have a brief falling out. After reflecting on the argument she had with Carrie, Miranda agrees to attend couples counseling with Steve, and they are eventually able to reconcile. Samantha begins overeating to keep her from cheating on Smith with Dante, but eventually realizes that their relationship is simply not working, and that she needs to put herself first. The two break up, and she moves back to New York. Charlotte learns that she is pregnant and is delighted, although for several months is concerned that something might happen to the baby, as her life seems to be too perfect.
A surprise encounter with Big at a restaurant leaves Charlotte so furious that she goes into labor. Big delivers her to the hospital, and waits until baby Rose is born, hoping to see Carrie. Harry passes on the message that Big would like her to call him, and that he has written to her frequently, but never received a reply. Carrie searches her correspondence, before realizing that Louise has kept his e-mails password-protected from her, after she earlier announced she wished to sever all communication with him. She finds that he has sent her dozens of letters copied from a book she showed him in the weeks before their wedding, Love Letters of Great Men, Vol. 1, culminating with one of his own where he apologizes for screwing it up and promises to love her forever.
One hour before the locks are due to be changed on their shared penthouse apartment, Carrie travels to the home Big had bought for them to collect a pair of mint condition Manolo Blahnik shoes she had left there. She finds Big in the walk-in closet he had built for her, and the moment she sees him, her anger at his betrayal dissipates. She runs into his arms and they share a passionate kiss. After spending the final hour in their apartment together, talking and apologizing to one another, Big proposes to Carrie properly, using one of her shoes in place of a ring. They later marry alone, in a simple wedding in New York City Hall, with Carrie dressed in the original dress she had bought in a vintage shop. They hold a get-together at a local diner with their friends. The film ends with the four women around a table in a restaurant, sipping cosmopolitans, and celebrating Samantha’s fiftieth birthday, with Carrie making a toast to the next fifty.