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No. 18, August 2001
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Bridget Jones's Diary

Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth in the film based on the novel by Helen Fielding and directed by Sharon Maguire. Get the film on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,
Directmedia Schweiz.


Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant. Photo Copyright: UIP.
 

Renée Zellweger. Photo Copyright: UIP.
 

Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth. Photo Copyright: UIP.
 

 


Article added on August 31, 2001
  
The journalist Helen Fielding began her weekly column "Bridget Jones's Diary" in the British daily newspaper The Independent in 1995. The following year, she turned her column into a book and Bridget Jones became an international success with over 4 million copies sold worldwide. The character she had invented seems to be one with which a lot of women can (partly) identify - the single female in her 30s. It was only logical that one day Helen Fielding's writing would be transformed into a film. In fact, the author wrote the screenplay herself, together with Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis. She also signed as executive producer of Bridget Jones's Diary.

The film with Renée Zellweger in the leading role, Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy as Colin Firth is fun to watch. People who are looking for a profound psychological analysis should be reminded that it is a comedy. This does not mean that there is not some truth in it - I know several women who are or were quite like Bridget.
 
For this film, Renée Zellweger is said to have put on some 10 kg. But even so, she still looks cuter than most woman. Helen Fielding and her team did not dare to chose an ugly single female - it is still a fairy tale. The Texan Renée Zellweger also learned to speak with an English accent working incognito in Helen Fielding's publishing house and - as far as a Swiss like me can judge - she succeeded.
 
Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is 32 and a London-based publicist. She has a slight eating, alcohol and nicotine disorder which comes to light when she is alone in front of her TV, with her friends and, more embarrassingly, at social events. Her battle against cellulite is as unsuccessful as her search for a man. Her best friends Jude (Shirley Henderson), Sharon (Sally Philipps) and Tom (James Callis), who is of course gay, give her (less than useful) advice.

At Christmas, as usual, her mother (Gemma Jones) tries to set her up with a man. This time, it is the environmental lawyer Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). The encounter, as usual, turns into a series of minor disasters. Instead, Bridget later begins an affair with her boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). Grant, not in his usual role as the romantic hero, gives an admirable performance. The short romance between the two ends as Bridget finds out that Cleaver is having an affair with an American colleague from the New York office. As it turns out, they are even engaged. Bridget is alone again and in search of a man. She gets a new job and fights on. Soon, it is Christmas again and, of course, she will find her prince.

Fielding's novel is inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As an ironic tip-off, Colin Firth got the role of Mark Darcy. He had played the part of Darcy in the acclaimed BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's novel and had impressed Fielding. In her movie, he changes from a cold intellectual to a sensitive man.

Bridget Jones's Diary is a Working Title Films production - the company responsible for Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral. The screenwriter of the two movies was Richard Curtis. In Bridget Jones's Diary, he worked as a co-screenwriter aside Helen Fielding and Andrew Davies. The film is directed by Sharon Maguire in her big screen debut.
 
The Texan actress
Renée Zellweger, born in 1969 as the daughter of a Swiss father and a Norwegian mother (with a Swiss and an American passport), is a single herself. She lives in Los Angeles. Her credits include Reality Bites, Love & A 45, Jerry Maguire, Nurse Betty and Me, Myself & Irene. In Bridget Jones's Diary, she proves to be one of those rare actresses who can shine in situation comedy. She is no Goldie Hawn yet, but as in Nurse Betty, her performance is remarkable. Only Hugh Grant acts on her level. 
 
Clever men like Daniel Cleaver will of course invite women like Bridget to watch Bridget Jones's Diary in order to seduce them...

 

Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones's Diary: A Novel. Reprint edition 1999. Get the book from Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de or Amazon.co.uk (1997-edition).
 
Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones's Diary: The Edge of Reason. 2000, 432 p. Get it from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr.
 

Bridget Jones's Diary. Get the film on DVD from Amazon.com. Get it on VHS from Amazon.co.uk.
 
Bridget Jones's Diary. Soundtrack. Get the CD from: Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Directmedia Schweiz. As one expects for a romantic comedy, it is largely a ballad album, with Shelby Lynne's Dreamsome as one of the highlights. Aretha Franklin's Respect, Dina Carroll's Someone Like You and Diana Ross' & Marvin Gaye's sugar sweet ballad Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart) add some soul flavor. The only song which doesn't fit into the album is Aaron Soul's Ring Ring Ring - by the way: no ballad.
 
For more film reviews: Film.

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 18, August 2001
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  All Previous Articles
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2001  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.