Directed by: Sharon Maguire
Written by: Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones
Romances rarely appear in the way they do in pieces of classical literature. In life, things get messy and one’s true love will not be the first person they come across. The titular character in Bridget Jones’s Diary learned this as she attempts to get her life together, find love, and just discover general happiness.
Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) lives as many people do; worried about their weight, not very satisfied with their career, and most likely crushing on someone who seems unattainable. After her parents unsuccessfully attempt to set her up with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), she decides to change her life and begins dating her boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant).
Utilized as a modern adaptation of the classic “Pride and Prejudice,” this film looks at how the story would play out today. A big gap to cover when any story goes from the text to the screen arises from the inner dialogue, which becomes hard to replicate. Luckily, the source material provided it with its diary format. It gives us insight into the thoughts of the protagonist even if she masks her true emotions to the outside world. The character of Bridget Jones feels incredibly relatable because she has her vices and seeks to overcome them in a progressive way. She messes up and does not presume to be perfect. Jones does not fit the typical beauty standards of a lead in Hollywood romantic comedies, but she reflects someone real.
The realness of this character shows itself in her insecurities and what she worries about when she interacts with others and on dates with men. It’s incredibly refreshing to see a character with this sort of attitude. Jones worries about having her sexy underwear on when she knows the night will progress in that direction among her other worries. Renée Zellweger does such a great job with this character, even if she struggled a bit with holding down the British accent. She demonstrates the charm of this character, even when her faults jump out on several occasions. She messes up several times, but remains a character worth rooting for throughout, which makes all of her cringe transgressions all the more painstaking to witness.
Vying for her heart are two charming gentlemen, Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver portrayed by Colin Firth and Hugh Grant respectively. They each bring their own wit and separate reasons as to why they receive the affection of Jones. Cleaver may be a womanizer but the man can talk a great game of romancing a woman, while Darcy represents a warm blanket, who will always be there to provide shelter at night. Grant turns his charm offense to the highest dial in portraying the arrogant but irresistible Cleaver and Firth brings his typical style of warmth to a character meant to be the right guy in the story. Each of them works incredibly well with Zellweger, as their romances anchor the film.
The humor of the feature defines its success with its dryness and the complete British flavor it has. It shows itself in the awkward moments where typical emotional suppression remains the demeanor, yet Jones smashes it up with her erratic behavior. The most notable scene comes from the vicars and tarts party, which Jones misinterprets and dresses in a way that brings her nothing but embarrassment. It creates one of the many great moments she shares with her father, Colin (Jim Broadbent). Truly one the great fatherly figures in all of film, as he seeks to support his daughter through her issues, even when he has plenty to take on himself. It speaks to the quality of this film that the lineup runs deep with talent and characters who leave memorable impressions after the credits roll.
Put down the cigarette and the booze to go along this journey of love with the lovely Bridget Jones. She may mess up in the wardrobe department or say the wrong thing at the worst time, but her charm and attitude will win you over and show why she’s someone worth rooting for. The supporting cast adds to the drama and the quirks. Bridget Jones’s Diary will provide some laughs, gasps, and prove to be a fun modern adaptation of one of the greatest romantic stories in all of literature.