I recently decided to dust off my Bridget Jones boxset and watch both Bridget Jones’ Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I wasn’t inspired by it being on TV recently. I just needed a dose of my favourite 30-something singleton. The books are great and actually so are the films. As always they never compare to the books, but usually because they have to cut them down and many people find their favourite parts disappearing.
For those that don’t know (where have you been?!), Bridget Jones’ Diary follows a 30-something as she struggles through the trials of being a singleton, trying to lose weight and be healthy. Her mother tries to set her up with Mark Darcy, who Bridget thinks is a bit of an arse, and she has a fling with her boss, who is all charming but is actually an arse. As the film progresses, across a year of Bridget’s life, which she documents in a diary, she comes to realise that Mark Darcy isn’t an arse and is in fact her perfect Mr. Darcy (in the book she is a tad obsessed with Pride and Prejudice). That’s not the only connect to the Jane Austen classic. Mark might share the same name as Mr Darcy, but the idea behind Bridget’s love life is based on the Austen novel. Mark Darcy, like his namesake, is misunderstood. He doesn’t give the best first impression, he does judge a book by its cover, he also doesn’t like to brag and he can’t control his feelings. Daniel Cleaver is very much the George Wickham of this story, changing the story of why Mark Darcy hates him to make out Mark to be the villain, which of course Bridget finds out towards the end of the first story.
In the second outing, Bridget and Mark are starting their new year together. Bridget is no longer a single 30-something girl. She still has issues, like not wanting Mark to see her ‘wobbly bits’ and worrying that he is more interested in the girl at work than her. Obviously a happy ever after at the start of the film doesn’t make for entertaining viewing, so upon a break Bridget heads to Thailand for a work trip, Daniel Cleaver is back in her life as he is now working at her new job and is also on the trip. She brings her friend who hooks up with a 20-something traveller. After Bridget puts her friend’s gift from said traveller in her bag, she finds herself in a Thai jail for drug smuggling. Darcy comes to save the day, but will things be all well between them in the end. In the book Bridget spends quite a bit of time in jail and loses a lot of weight. She also, before heading to Thailand, gets to interview Colin Firth who is loves following his role as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. This sadly didn’t make it into the film because they decided that audiences that weren’t familiar with the books and connection to the Jane Austen novel and TV adaptation would not see the funny side of Colin Firth being interviewed as himself within a film where he plays the lover of the person interviewing him.
The last time I watched either film I was in my 20s and watching them this time round was a little scary. The first time I saw them I felt connected to Bridget due to being a singleton, a bad cook, we both worked in PR and the fact that we had the same bra. But there were many things that I wouldn’t do that she does, such as wearing short skirts, enjoying a bottle of wine to myself at home. Now I’m in my 30s however, I’ve find myself turning more and more into Bridget. We don’t have the same bra any more, my skirts aren’t as short, but there are a couple of short-ish ones in there. I have not sang along to the radio and been drunk at home, but I have worked my way through most of a bottle of wine alone. I’ve had career ups and downs and switched jobs (but not careers like Bridget, and I didn’t leave because I slept with my boss).
So my theory is that if I am becoming more like Bridget, then perhaps I am coming closer to finding my Mark Darcy amongst all the Daniel Cleavers.
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