Director: Sharon Maguire
Screenplay: Helen Fielding
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant
While Bridget Jones’ Diary may be a bit of a guilty pleasure, that doesn’t make it any less true that the film was actually a good one, and that it produced an iconic kick-ass heroine.
Yes, that’s right. Bridget Jones, who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, and dresses like her mother, is one kick-ass female.
We first meet Bridget (Renee Zellweger) as someone who is trying to get a grip on her life – she’s dealing with her job in publishing wherein her time is spent flirting with her boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), she can’t control her alcoholic and smoking tendencies, she’s trying to keep her weight in check, and of course, her love life is non-existent. At a New Year’s Eve party at her parents’ house, she gets reacquainted with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who found her not as charming as she had hoped. She dated Daniel, but broke it off eventually due to Daniel’s insatiable womanizing. She even quit her job, and found something she believed herself to be good in, with a remarkable first day on the job (Who can forget Bridget sliding down the pole with her butt to the camera?). While Mark and Bridget don’t really hit it off so well at the start, they eventually bond and Bridget realizes that Mark is the one for her.
Actually though, Bridget did nothing extraordinary, except that of embarrassing herself to oblivion occasionally. It proved to be extremely difficult for her to actually accomplish her goals – to lose weight and to put an end to her bad habits. But as hard as it is for women of the same age to accept and while Bridget may not necessarily be the best poster girl for the thirty-something experience, the authenticity of her voice and her story cannot be refuted. Sure, it makes for a plot riddled with imperfections from a feminist point of view. But Bridget is one of the most relatable female characters in film, with her experience ultimately sending the message that while it may seem insurmountable, she can take charge of everything that’s spiraling out of control in her life. She can change certain things to have the life she wants and is happy to have. And that does not necessarily come with the cost of her changing her entire self to fit an ideal created by society. Let’s face it: Bridget can’t fit into that mold. No one can and no one should. And that’s the beauty of it.
Bridget’s growth wasn’t conditioned on the occurrence of the changes she wanted at first in her life. It was something she earned from a change of perspective and some maturity – something we’ve all experienced and triumphed over, even once in our lives. Bridget Jones is a kick-ass female lead because she is real.
PS – Let’s pretend there wasn’t a sequel that overplayed the charming notes of the first film into non-existence.