Directed by Sharon Maguire and written by the crack team of Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, and Helen Fielding, 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary holds a treasured place on the rom-com mantelpiece and is a deservingly beloved classic.
Based on Fielding’s 1996 novel of the same name – itself a reinterpretation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – Bridget Jones’s Diary stars Renée Zellweger as the titular singleton (covered in scales of course), who writes a journal which focuses on the things she wishes to happen in her life.
Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Gemma Jones feature masterfully in supporting roles, completing the cast of the greatest film about a British woman starring a Texan that has ever been made...
Bridget Jones is an assistant at a London book publisher, who can’t help but feel time is passing her by. Bridget may not be perfect – she loves a cigarette and a tipple – but she’s had enough of being on life’s shelf.
As a new year’s resolution, she vows to get her act together – no sooner doing so than attracting the attention of her suave and charming boss, Daniel Cleaver (Grant). When a romance swiftly ensues, Bridget could not be happier, though there may be more to the dashing Daniel than meets the eye.
Not only that, things are complicated further by the seemingly dull and unyielding Mark Darcy (Firth), who seems to arrive in Bridget’s life at every turn to cast light on her shortcomings.
But could this cold and rigid bore hold the true key to her heart? On a journey filled with fancy dress blunders, fireman’s pole hiccups and public speaking disasters, we’re about to find out...
Bridget Jones’s Diary premiered in April 2001, opening to positive reviews and massive box office receipts, grossing over $280 million worldwide.
Maguire’s direction was praised by critics, along with the screenplay, the film’s jovial tone and Zellweger’s stellar performance, which in fact garnered her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Over the years, Bridget Jones’s Diary has been hailed as a cult classic as well as a significant player in English pop culture with the character of Bridget being cited as a British culture icon.
The success of the film spawned a Bridget Jones franchise with two equally successful sequels being released – Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in 2004, and Bridget Jones’s Baby in 2016.
In general Bridget Jones’s Diary stands as the triumphant result of an almost perfect rom-com recipe – a floppy-haired Englishman, a clumsy underdog of a hero/heroine, garden parties aplenty, and a soundtrack you can set your heart to.
Both Grant and Firth are superb throughout – featuring in one of the most iconic and side-splitting fight scenes that cinema has ever graced us with – and both Broadbent and Jones are supreme in their roles as the parents of our unlikely and ultimately lovable leading lady.
Bridget Jones’s Diary is the ultimate in honest and hilarious feel-good hits, and I’d challenge anyone – man, boy, woman or girl – to watch it without seeing at least a little something of themselves in it’s key protagonist.
One thing’s for sure – if we were all just like Bridget, the world would be a bit brighter... if not possibly a little drunker.
Here’s to Bridget Jones – who we love... just as she is.