Bridget Jones's Diary
(2001)











Rated: R
Runtime: 1 Hour and 38 Minutes


Reviewer: Dale
Grade: B+

"Bridget Jones's Diary" is something rather unique. It's a fairly realistic (I think) examination of what it is like to be in your thirties, with the biological clock ticking and everyone around you pressuring you to find a husband. It's about those moments where you are alone in your apartment, depressed and more than a little drunk and lamenting your lack of love life while singing along with a sad song. It is about being a little heavier than you want to be, having some bad habits that you just can't quite kick and being attracted to someone even though you know they are totally wrong for you and possibly an asshole. In one way or another, everyone can relate to Bridget Jones. Such themes are universal. Though, judging by the crowd I saw it with, it helps to be the owner of a pair of ovaries.

Renee Zellweger is Bridget Jones. She has put on a few pounds for the role (how many Hollywood actresses would be willing to do THAT for a role, I'm thinking not too many) and has filled out her usually stick-like figure. She is still beautiful and she is still entirely enchanting, something which I am beginning to discover she is better at than anyone in current cinema. Renee is excellent in this role, as a thirty-something woman juggling her worries and failing relationships while working at a publishing house in London. Renee pulls off a fabulous British accent. It's flawless, actually, and it makes her even more charming than usual. Her performance is brilliant in pretty much every way, actually. She really telegraphs the desperation of Bridget's plight and gives you a good idea of what it's like to be a woman in such a place in life. Whatever my problems may be with the movie, Renee is not one of them.

Neither is Hugh Grant, who is alternately charming and slimy depending on which side of the character is revealed to us. He is, after all, a man who weasels his way into Bridget's heart via sexual harassing her at work. He is great in this movie, showing another reason why I think he is our current answer to Cary Grant. If you don't laugh at his response to Bridget's question about Chechnya or his strategy in a particularly hilarious brawl, then I really don't know what's wrong with you.

Colin Firth plays the other man in Bridget's life, and he is good at his role but, as with most men that I see women going out with in reality, I really don't understand what draws Bridget to want to be with him. He appears in most of this movie as though he is a monumental prick, but there are flashes of a decent, caring guy underneath. At least he seems less of a bastard than Hugh does. Actually, I thought his character was very realistic and he plays the man very well. And, as I mentioned previously, the street brawl between he and Hugh Grant alone is worth the price of admission. Especially when the two men fight their way into a swank restaurant across the street and then stop to sing "Happy Birthday" to one of the restaurant's patrons. Very funny stuff.

My major quibble with the movie is that, perhaps, it tries to juggle too many subplots and supporting characters. I liked the characters that were Bridget's friends, I just thought they could have been developed a little more deeply. I also thought that the subplot about her mother and father, though effective, could have been a little stronger. But I still cared about them, so it may be a moot point.

All in all, however, I found a lot of charming moments in the film and it made me smile most of the way through. The main characters are well developed and, as I said, it is nice to get a little more insight into the female mind. Doesn't happen enough in modern film, if you ask me. Renee is brilliant, as always (one of these days even the Academy might recognize this) and she has another strong role that she can sink her considerable talents into. Hugh and Colin are also good, and the writing is rather sharp. Though the women in the audience seemed to be laughing a lot more than I was. Then again, I'm not a woman. I suppose that the plight of a single woman in her thirties would be a lot more identifiable if you actually were a woman in her thirties.

If you're a woman, you will probably love this movie. The women I was surrounded by certainly did. If you're a man, go anyway. It's a fun time, and you might even learn something.