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As a huge fan of the books, I had incredibly high expectations of the movie.
In order for the movie to work for me, it had to capture Bridget's
plucky-heroine character and the hilarious-poignant emotions that are in the
book. Needless to say, `Bridget Jones's Diary' the movie worked very, very,
very well. Although Helen Fielding also wrote the screenplay (w/ Richard
Curtis, very skilled with romantic comedies) and keeps the laughs coming,
this movie could have fallen flat on its face. But it doesn't because one,
the casting is absolutely divine and two, smartly builds on some elements
the book downplays.
Renee Zellweger is absolutely perfect as Bridget Jones. She has always been one of my favorite actresses and here, she totally displays Bridget's pathetic cuteness. Zellweger gained weight for this role, too, so she looks adorably plump. It's very, very hard to not fall in love with her the moment you see her at her family's Christmas party or drinking alone at home or listening to sad, Celine Dion music. (You have a heart of stone if you aren't moved to laughs or tears or pity for her.) I can't imagine anyone else playing Bridget Jones. Zellweger fits the role because she is very much normal and approachable we can relate to her.
As Daniel Cleaver (her caddish Cassanova lover/boss), Hugh Grant is smoldering and hilarious. (Ok, I might be a little biased because I've been in love with him for ages and ages, but you can't deny he is a great comedic actor.) There's no trace of his stuttering that we saw (and I loved) in `Four Weddings and a Funeral' or `Sense and Sensibility.' Grant morphs effortlessly into a cad that we all love to hate and all love to love. Yes, it's a paradox, but that is what Grant brings to his role. He makes being `bad' look so sexy. You can't take your eyes off him; he brings his own humor to his role. It's lovely, smoldering, and incredibly sexy.
Colin Firth is also a delight to watch onscreen as Mark Darcy (I think I might be in love with him, too). He is also sexy and smoldering, but not in the same wild, fiery way as Daniel Cleaver. Firth brings a very cute sweetness to his role. I don't know if it is his adorable face or his hair or the way he dresses or just the fact that he is a major sex symbol, but you can't help but fall in love with him the MOMENT you see him onscreen. There is also one very beautiful moment where he tells Bridget, `I like you very much just the way you are.' It's incredibly romantic and, for me, ranks right up there with Tom Cruise's `You complete me' in `Jerry Maguire.' He also has rather explosive chemistry with Renee Zellweger, which is moving and sexy all at the same time. (And, of course, the author Helen Fielding used Colin Firth as the basis for Mark Darcy, so it all works out marvelously.)
I also mentioned that the movie smartly builds on some elements that the book downplays. Yes, there are certain parts of the movie that cannot be found in the book, but I'm still glad they put them in the movie. Most of what they added doesn't necessarily build on plot but it does add to the characters. I don't want to give anything away because it's rather hilarious what unfolds onscreen. The movie is filmed in an almost Ally McBeal type of way but it remains true to the sincerity, cuteness, and pathetic naivete that Bridget Jones embodies. There are no pretensions. It's an entirely wonderful film. 10/10
Being a long time fan of the BJD books (three years and counting), I had
nothing but high hopes for the movie version. I was lucky enough to get
a sneak preview last night, and I was not disappointed. The movie, like
book, has the most hilarious lines and moments, and each of the actors
portrayed their characters so well you couldn't imagine anyone else in
part. Renee Zellweger IS Bridget, there is just no arguing it. No other
actress could have pulled off what Renee did in this movie. Hugh Grant
for an excellent Daniel, who is completely two faced and has a smarmy
of charm that makes you want him just as badly as Bridget does. Colin
is a superb Mark Darcy, but that was a given because the character was
practically written with him in mind - as all avid BJD readers know, Mark
Darcy's character is a play on the Mr. Darcy Firth portrayed in Pride and
Some of the more hardcore fans of the book may be disappointed with all the missing jokes and scenes, but to film the entire book would have left us with a 10 hour movie. The writers did an excellent job distilling the essence of the novel, and the finished product has all the charm and wit of the original. The audience, many of whom I'm sure have never read the book (and many of whom, surprisingly, were male), laughed nonstop throughout the film, and everyone seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. As for those of us who have read it, I do believe that this is one of those rare book-to-movie jobs that was really spot-on, and everything that was noticeably changed in the process only makes the movie better. So go see it, it's hands-down one of the best movies of 2001 so far.
Bridget Jones's Diary is full of lighthearted fun. The cast is wonderful - especially true for Colin Firth. His performance is magical. Being given such a thin material to work with, playing a `dreadful cold fish', he has artfully shown Mark Darcy's kindness and charm that gradually wins everyone's heart. This would be an impossible mission for actors other than Colin Firth. I enjoy every minute of his performance. In my opinion, they should give this nice boy more camera times - that's the only complain I have about this movie. Besides this complain, I have to congratulate the whole production team for successfully creating a movie of such weightless fun, and at the same time being honest and sincere to the human emotions. It is very hard to believe that this movie is Sharon Maguire's first one. I never read the book. So, you can trust my observation to be totally independent of the book. If you wish to have some fun and also like to dream a little bit, this is definitely the movie for you. BTW. If you enjoy watching drama and haven't seen Colin Firth's "Pride And Prejudice" (BBC), do yourself a favor and rent it. He is *really* a great "Character Actor" - one of the most talented alive.
What made this film work? What made this film break the usual British
romantic conventional route? One actress! Her name is Renee Zellwegger,
seriously, if the actress was British, this film would've been -'been there,
done that'. Instead, this clever casting has made Bridget Jones a wonderful
Renee Zellwegger is an actress who changed to suit the screenplay, now that is ACTING! Her mannerisms, her weight, her enthusiasm and cutesy style are a wonder to behold.
Colin Firth does a great job, he plays his role well, a future James Bond perhaps? Hugh Grant finally gives us something different, he was actually quite funny at times.
Maguire as the director handles the proceedings extremely well, this is her debut and I think she will become quite successful with small films. The Super35 wide-screen frame is used well, bravo! The screenplay is lightweight, but written well, plenty of ad-lib and spontaneity transcend the script.
As a male, sit back and have a laugh. Quality!
With certain bad movies - "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is a famous extreme
example - you start to wonder if there's something wrong with people who
don't realise that they're bad. I'm not saying that if someone LIKES "Plan
9" then his or her brain probably needs to be repaired; the suspicious,
unhealthy thing is not LIKING the film, but being of the opinion that it's
good. (Many people have a soft spot for it precisely BECAUSE they realise
how bad it is. In this way it differs from something like "Timecode", where
either liking the film OR having a high opinion of it is something to be
embarrassed about.) And something similar applies to, say, "Citizen Kane".
Disliking it makes sense; thinking it's a bad film does
But there's another kind of film that tempts me to be even more presumptuous. "Dumbo" is the best example I can think of at the moment. I can see why one might (mistakenly) have a low opinion of "Dumbo": some of the footage IS mere padding, the triumph at the end is too swift, the charge has been laid (falsely, but not ludicrously) that the crows are racist caricatures ... and so forth. But surely even the people who think "Dumbo" is a bad film must still manage to like it. If they don't, THEN I'm suspicious.
I feel this way, to a greater or lesser degree, about a number of light comedies, and this is one of them. I can't honestly say that I revere or adore "Bridget Jones's Diary" (N.B.: I'm male), but all the same, I can't help thinking that people who take an active dislike to it have something wrong with them. This applies not just to the film as a whole but to Bridget Jones, the central character, in particular. What has she done to merit dislike? She's beautiful (as beautiful as Renée Zellweger has ever been on screen), honest and kind-hearted. The diary she keeps certainly reveals her many flaws, but none is particularly pronounced, most are purely negative and anyway, she shares them all with the rest of us - so don't pretend you're not like this, too.
This is an amiable, well-written and fresh romantic comedy with, for ONCE, an attractive female protagonist. It's far from being the greatest film ever made and there may be grounds for attacking it which I haven't touched upon (I suppose there always are), and so all in all I'll understand your not thinking as much of it as I do, but, dammit, you'd better LIKE it.
Speaking as one familiar with "Pride and Prejudice"--the book and the 1995
miniseries upon which this work is loosely based--I like this spunky
movie exceedingly well, just as it is. Do not be put off by superficial
comparisons to "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill," both
shallow and pretentious movies memorable only for one fine eulogy and some
physically beautiful protagonists. "Bridget Jones's Diary" is
Bridget Jones is, as its soundtrack suggests, "Everywoman." Every woman who has ever fumbled for words, fallen on her face, been embarrassed by her mother, chosen her underwear carefully, picked a cad for a boyfriend--whether she's a thirty-something singleton or a sixty-something grandma--can identify with Bridget on some level. You can't help pulling for her. Cheering her on is cheering yourself on.
But this chick-flick is not hardcore; it has a broad sense of humor. Male viewers have been caught in the act--smirking. There is even a fistfight to warm insensitive martial hearts. A couple of famous people make appearances here, too--one with a million-dollar price on his head--Salman Rushdie, who plays himself in a wryly irreverent little sequence.
It's easy to miss the movie's charm on the first screening--some very good lines are swallowed at the ends; the gratuitous profanity, casual sex, prodigious smoking and drinking are turn-offs; the heroine is an awkward, fleshy woman with reprehensible fashion taste, and one may easily posit that she ended up with an unsuitable and unlikely mate.
But I contend, after a second viewing, that this movie is a little gem. There is a wonderful economy in the editing; every scene, every action tends toward only one possible conclusion, a PERFECT conclusion. And the childhood clips in the ending credits give credence to that conclusion and provide support for it--which is that the hero and heroine are made for each other.
I rate it a solid 9 (with a 10 for the BBC/1995 "Pride and Prejudice").
* * * * S P O I L E R S A H E A D * * * *
At first glance, Miss Jones seems stupid and inept and the last woman in the world one would pick for the intelligent and successful Mr. Darcy. But consider this: Darcy already had "a clever wife" before--bliss must needs be sought elsewhere. Besides, Bridget, though somewhat gauche, is not unintelligent, as evidenced by her voiceovers and some of her sallies. But most of all this: Each has something the other needs--he is steady and reliable, she possesses liveliness and warmth. Notice the wistful look on Darcy's face as he watches Bridget and Cleaver cavorting on the river. He WANTS some nonsense and indecorum in his life--needs them; she would be his savior. Imagine Darcy's life if he had settled on the competent but priggish Natasha--both parties would have stagnated. Imagine if Bridget had surrendered to the charms of a Daniel Cleaver--fun for the nonce, but misery for the long haul.
No, this ending is perfect in every way, down to the last delightful epithet uttered by an aroused Darcy. And oh yes, the kiss--very promising indeed; at once tender and ardent, it leaves one with the distinct impression that Darcy will be something more than "helpful in the kitchen."
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut
to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it
What really makes this movie stand out from a venerable list of other working girl fantasies is the familiar but one-of-a-kind personality of the irrepressible Bridget Jones. Created by novelist Helen Fielding, who also wrote the script, and brought to life by the talented and zany Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones is a 32-year-old pleasingly plump London working girl, a "...verbally incontinent spinster who...dresses like her mother" (to quote Colin Firth's character, Mark Darcy). She is also clumsy, the kind of girl who might spill sauce on her blouse, a little overweight, smokes, drinks too much and sometimes says what she thinks without consulting her brain. She is also very good at improvising on the spot, a talent that charms not only the two leading men, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who vie for her affection, but also the five o'clock news audience who like her bum and knickers just fine.
Director Sharon Maguire, in her first outing, combines Brit witticisms, slapstick pratfalls, raunchy, sharp and realistic dialogue, and a blatant but inoffensive sentimentality into a romantic comedy that surely has Nora Ephron and Julia Roberts paying close attention. She keeps us guessing about who will get the girl (and who really deserves the girl) with the usual misdirections and misunderstandings characteristic of the genre. There's a little dead time about half way in, and the uncertainty about whether Bridget wants Hugh Grant or Colin Firth is milked a bit overmuch, otherwise this is nicely paced entertainment sure to chase away a blue afternoon.
Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are both very good, and Gemma Jones as Bridget's mother is a charming, dotty sight to see. Bridget's friends are funny as a kind of foil to the tired glamor of Yank TV's "Friends." And there's a darling "home movie" sequence during the closing credits purporting to recall Bridget at four and Mark Darcy at eight, that retrospectively and adorably frames the movie.
Should a CHICK FLICK ALERT be declared here? No doubt, but thanks to a warm, bubbly, funny and decidedly unprudish and unaffected (and I must say, somewhat daring) performance by Zellweger, we'll ignore it because we "like her just the way she is."
This film I only discovered fairly recently, and just absolutely fell
in love with it. It sure seemed familiar and lo and behold then I read
about the Pride and Prejudice connection and then it all made complete
This is such a charming, lovely homage to Pride and Prejudice. The three lead characters are just perfect. It is funny, sweet at times, sad at others, and just wonderfully sexy and v. romantic (especially the last 1/4th of it).
Renee is so extraordinary as Bridget Jones, who would have ever thought she could play so believable a modern Brit woman so well. Her accent seems flawless to me. Hugh Grant is hilarious and a charming Lothario throughout. But Colin Firth is who really sold me on this film. His ability to play a guy that you start out not liking but drooling over by the end of the movie is sublime.
I am a big fan of the less is more style of acting that Mr. Firth puts forth in this film...much of his performance is in his eyes and his facial expressions. While Daniel (Mr. Grant's character) chatters on and on and tries to charm with his wit and words, Mark Darcy (Mr. Firth's character) just has a strong and rather silent presence along with an integrity of character that is revealed and he wins us over (as well as Bridget).
This movie has a lot going on outside of the wonderful romance as well. Contemporary events, gender inequities, social differences, work place decorum, fashion, self-image, sex, family, and friendship all come under the scrutiny of Bridget Jones and her diary.
This is a very good adaptation of a beloved novel. The tone, scene selection, dialogue and characters capture the essence of what fans of the book love about it. I cannot imagine it any better cast or written.
Speaking as a singleton of a certain age, I found this move dead on. Although set in England, the theme and feelings of single people everywhere were universal. The plot line stayed pretty true to the book with a few exceptions but the tone stayed the same. I know when I went to see this with a female friend there were many men in the audience who looked like they had been dragged there but 5 minutes into the move they were laughing as hard (if not harder) than the women in the audience. This is definitely not just a "chick flick." Renee Zellweger was a perfect Bridget. When I first heard that she was going to play this role, I was skeptical but after I saw it(which I did twice, so far!) I couldn't imagine anyone else with such a mixture of cynicism and innocence. Bravo to the casting of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth as Cleaver and Darcy, respectively. If this movie doesn't win some Oscars it will be a crying shame.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think I must have different contact lenses from the other people who've
commented on this film. Either that, or I saw a different
First of all, I have to say that I found this a mildly amusing film with some good moments that made me laugh out loud.
I also have to agree that Renee Zellweger does a fantastic job playing Bridget Jones: she's plain, gawky, funny, warm, sincere, and a real twit all at the same time. That said, I confess it took me a little while to warm to her character, partly because Bridget is such a twit. I mean, she's 32 years old and she doesn't have a clue how to fix a meal for friends? She automatically assumes that first-date sex is inevitable even before a relationship begins (hence the underwear angst)? She cannot string two words together without babbling?
I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this film, though, and people's glowing reactions to it, is wondering what Bridget and Mark are going to talk about from now on. I mean, he's a top barrister with education, money, social standing, and a variety of interests, humanitarian and otherwise. Bridget, on the other hand, seems to have no interests, other than drinking, smoking, feeling sorry for herself, and catching a man. She's not intelligent, well-educated, committed to anything, or even with the prospect of being a viable, supporting housewife. At least with Daniel, cad though he clearly is, [I muse cynically here] she had fun--and so did Daniel. Fun and Darcy don't actually go in the same sentence! In the end, I thought she ended up with the wrong man.
I walked out of the movie theater a bit disappointed. I'd heard lots of good things about this film, and although it has some good moments and some funny lines, and Zellweger's acting is commendable, I thought the film just didn't live up to expectations.
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