“…every time I see you, you seem to go out of your way to make me feel like a *complete* idiot. And you really needn’t bother: I already feel like an idiot most of the time anyway …”
Set in England, this smart, funny comedy/drama starts on New Year’s Day. Bridget Jones, well-played by Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire, Me, Myself and Irene), is a 32-year-old woman who works at a publishing firm. Zellweger got a well deserved Oscar nomination for this memorable role, which included two additional installments – Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) and Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016).
Based on the Helen Fielding novel, Bridget’s tale begins with a retrospective explanation of her current state in life through narration and her reasoning behind starting a personal diary to put her life into focus. She begins by talking about the diary as a work that’s “full of the whole truth” which foreshadows future events in the story.
This strong, charming story includes great development, foreshadowing, flash reviews, flashbacks and life connections that can easily relate to any audience member. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces,” says (or writes) Bridget. Characters experience childish fun, embarrassing events and tough decisions through their life journeys.
The rapid fire dialogue includes witty quips, several references and great vocabulary, so be prepared to pay attention in order to get full enjoyment from this memorable film. Some of the references refer to the British culture and local locations, which might get lost in translation to some audience members, but the overall effects contribute continually bolster the characters and story.
Their attitudes and actions define them as the enjoyable story punctuates deep emotions and personal values/beliefs. Uniquely revealing highlights include Bridget’s speech at a company publishing promotion and many dinner conversations, especially one where a main character’s background is revealed by a minor character who was directly involved. Audiences usually never see people involved in these events, but here audiences experience events through an impressively wide scope and perspective.
Hugh Grant co-stars as Daniel Cleaver who works with Bridget and is complimented by Colin Firth as Mark Darcy who has somewhat of a personal history with Bridget. These two combine with Bridget in an interesting relationship triangle where honesty, rivalry, and true emotions filter through as the story progresses.
Filmmakers take full advantage of Daniel’s vain attitudes/lifestyle and Mark’s tactfully unwise honesty (e.g. “Natasha, this is Bridget Jones. Bridget, this is Natasha. Bridget works in a publishing house and she used to play around naked in my paddling pool.”). One of these men’s surface personality eventually reveals genuine intentions and a good heart.
Jim Broadbent as Bridget’s Dad, Colin while Gemma Jones plays her mom Pam. Felicity Montagu also plays a bossy lady named Perpetua who is unfortunately under developed here.
The film’s climax at a birthday dinner advances the story and characters, but still does not cement their relationships since this film represents one of several books in a series. A very enjoyable film that’s recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated R for language and some strong sexuality.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler