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Summary: Bridget Jones’s Diary is the film of the book of the newspaper column – a romantic comedy, documenting a year in the life of a single, thirty something woman in London, played by Renée Zellweger.

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2001, UIP

Director: Sharon Maguire

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth

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Bridget Jones’s Diary is the film of the book of the newspaper column – a romantic comedy, documenting a year in the life of a single, thirty something woman in London, played by Renée Zellweger.

It’s the beginning of the New Year for Bridget Jones, who works at a London publishing house as a marketing assistant. Determined to improve her life by losing weight, cutting down on cigarettes and alcohol and finding Mr Right, Bridget begins a diary to record her uncensored thoughts.

She starts by making a list of 33 resolutions (of which, in the end, she manages to keep only one). Bridget has two main fixations: to create the right image for herself, and to find a responsible man who will be truly committed to her, instead of just using her and leaving.

Her affections are torn between her boss, the dangerous, exciting and attractive Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and the haughty, mysterious human-rights barrister, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). The love triangle that follows draws loose parallels with Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (together with its sequel The Edge of Reason) was written by Helen Fielding, and has sold over 10 million copies in 30 countries. It was an overwhelming and instant success, capturing the plight of the contemporary woman in a remarkably familiar and endearing light.

Many people saw flashes of themselves as they followed the delightfully dysfunctional Bridget through ‘performance anxiety’ at work, ever-failing diets and her insatiable longing for love. I smiled at the one-liners, laughed at the subtle and not-so-subtle comedy and nodded in sympathy with Bridget’s all-too-familiar plight - and I’m male. Imagine the female reaction!

It was, perhaps, encouraging to find that you can be a domestic disaster, a social embarrassment, a professional no-hoper and a little overweight, and still have two handsome hunks fighting over you... But beneath the humorous surface of the film lie glimpses of real sadness. This movie successfully combines comedy and truth, but the humour masks the real emotion.

Laughter can often be an antidote to the things that make us sad. The film communicates reality, however fictional. Whether we are single or married, we can relate, to some extent, with Bridget’s frustrations. They prompt an examination of our own lives and relationships. It’s a movie that makes us realise that what - or who - is on the inside is far more important than having the perfect body, the perfect career or saying all the right things at the right time.

It is completely natural that we - both women and men - want to fall in love and get married. After all, Bridget is living out the desire that God has planted in most people to find a life’s partner. It was God (not a grumpy Adam) who declared, “It is not right for the man to be alone.” Desire for companionship is quite a legitimate need, and God recognises this.

Bridget’s desire to find a life partner who loves her is a virtue, not a flaw. It is the way she goes about it - leaving herself sexually open for exploitation - that is the problem.


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