Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) – Sharon Maguire

Helen Fielding’s bestselling novel, Brdiget Jones’s Diary gets adapted to the big screen by Fielding, Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis. And while some may take exception with the casting of Rene Zellweger in the role, and not an actual Brit actor (I would say that allowed the film a more international opportunity) she handles it ably, and I was quite happy to settle in and enjoy this, the next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of Pretty Woman.

Basically a reworked and modernisation of the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice, the story follows the life and times of Bridget Jones (Zellweger) as she drinks, smokes and flirts her way though life, despairing of ever actually meeting the man for her.

Along comes Mark Darcy, played my Pride & Prejudice’s actual Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth (almost a little too on the nose, but Firth is such a great actor that you go along with it), and Bridget immediately detests him, while falling into a less than stable romance with her boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant, playing Hugh Grant).

With a trio of friends in her corner including Shirley Henderson, Sally Phillips and James Callis, Bridget tries to figure her love life out, but it’s not going to be easy, and with a very funny script, you know there is going to be a lot of laughs on the way to its happy ending.

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Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones play Bridget’s parents, who have problems of their own, and watch for an appearance by Honor Blackman.

A delightful little film that knows that its audience knows the story of Pride & Prejudice, and is going to give them what they want, but in a new and fun way. Zellweger is extremely likeable in the role, and she seems to have some great chemistry with both her co-stars.

The film is light, entertaining, best enjoyed with romantic company and a bottle of red. Yes, it’s a paint-by-numbers rom-com, and you know how it’s going to end before it starts, but it’s a delight, and is a lot of fun to watch.

As a personal aside, as the film approaches its climax there is a moment of fisticuffs between Daniel and Mark… and this fight was completely unchoreographed, and is damned funny to watch.

While the sequels were of lesser material, and strayed far and wide from the source material, this first film is definitely a great little Brit rom-com and is probably worth a revisit.

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