Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."

Advert

Bridget Jones’s Baby’s arrival is perfectly timed

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

bridget

“You’re so like Bridget Jones, aren’t you?”
“Still single? Nevermind look at Bridget Jones, she found her Darcy in the end.”
“Oh do tell us about that embarrassing dating story just once more? We so love to laugh.”

Boy have I rued the introduction of Bridget Jones. Part caricuture, part indictment on society, by 2016 it felt an insult to be compared to the titular heroine of the newspaper column/book/film franchise.

Back in 2001, Bridget Jones’s Diary became a movie success story when it nearly duodecupled its £25million cost. Renee Zellweger won hearts, plaudits and nearly an Oscar with her pitch-perfect rendition of the agonised writer, bringing diary entries like ‘only 80 fags today: v good‘ to life without irony.  Bridget Jones’s Diary made sense. We all either knew a Bridget or were a Bridget: the single wo(man) making her way in media London. It felt like a feminist update of Working Girl.

Cut to fifteen years later and the laughter has turned to sniggering. Bridget Jones have become the by-words for a certain type of embarrassing female. We as audience now embody Bridget’s mother: rolling eyes and shrugging shoulders at the turbulent tales of our mid-life miscreant.

We can’t blame Helen Fielding. She wrote humourously on the reality of the times, adding ‘singleton‘ ‘smug married‘ and possibly ‘mini-break‘ to the dictionary. The truth is that some characters are so fiercely loved by the public that ownership becomes wrenched from the creator for manipulative ends.

So through a second movie and a host of parodies, Bridget Jones’s world descended into bawdy slapstick: she was guaranteed to fall over, say something stupid and remain the butt of all dating jokes as the world moved on with its surge in female business and political leadership and internet dating becoming the norm. Even knitted animal jumpers were (very briefly) considered cool.

So I was wary to embrace this character once more and risk reminding my friends of the parallels between myself and this city-dwelling, unmarried, boozing, ditzy stereotype.

It didn’t take long to peel away fingers from my eyes when I saw Bridget Jones’s Baby and thankfully, I never had reason to cover them again. It is a great romcom.

Of course they knew, didn’t they? The screenwriting team of Helen Fielding, Emma Thompson and Dan Mazer also live in this post-Bridget world. Ten years later, they had to show that she had grown.

Bridget begins Bridget Jones’s Baby as still single. She has progressed in her career, now owning a slightly larger two-bed flat (still in outrageously-expensive Borough market: blame Richard Curtis) and yet is not unhappy with her lot.  This Bridget is no longer calorie counting or smoking, but she retains some familiar concerns. At forty three, she frets about being alone and childless writing in her (now online) diary. Bridget Jones doesn’t sit and cry, when she falls over, she gets up and tries again.

bridge2

The movie paints such a clever picture that we’re almost punished for thinking so badly of our heroine. Bridget is strong, faces the music, has principles and never begrudges her life being different to her friends.

The scriptwriters and director Sharon Maguire (who also directed Bridget Jones’s Diary)  couldn’t and shouldn’t remake the much-loved icon, so they don’t. Bridget continues to bumble through middle class, middle England. This is not a movie that portrays any true conflict.

It is the humour that will elevate this film to classic status. Sight gags and witty repartee are plenty apparent. And Zellweger is luminescent, whereas Colin Firth is possibly even more repressed in this incarnation of Mark Darcy. Patrick Dempsey‘s Jack Qwant acts as a more-nuanced replacement for Hugh Grant’s sexist Daniel Cleaver. All of the supporting cast are equally brilliant, particularly my favourites Gemma Jones and Neil Pearson (reprising their roles) and Sarah Solemani, whose expressive face makes her a perfect news-presenter and partner-in-crime.

Both respectful and self-reverential, Bridget Jones’s Baby gives the viewers what they need: a beloved character trapped in a love triangle and the ensuing hilarious results. If Bridget can grow and put her reputation behind her then the least that we – as audience – can do is to follow suit.

“You’re so like Bridget Jones, aren’t you?”

You bet I am.

Next PostPrevious Post

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Amazon Prime Free Trial