by Victoria H.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 years since Bridget Jones forgot her skirt, or vowed to lose weight. Bridget’s misadventures and honest commentary related to women the world over when the film was released in 2001. In fact another sequel is currently filming in London, even though it’s been 10 years since a Bridget Jones film release. Time has only increased Bridget Jones’ popularity.
What connects to audiences is the authenticity of the character of Bridget Jones. She’s far from perfect, and is honest about her flaws and imperfections. While she is constantly trying to improve herself by eating, drinking and smoking less, she never hates herself or apologises for who she is. Bridget is self-aware, she knows when she has messed up and scolds herself for it. And while she may call herself a failure, she never gives up on herself. It is this up and down internal dialogue that the audience can relate to.
While she may subscribe at points to the myth of self-perfection, Bridget moves past this. The myth of self-perfection refers to the idea that is possible to control the remaking of one’s self and anyone can achieve this. Yet life is not as simple as this, and why should anyone feel obligated to change who they are. In Bridget’s endless journey to become the sort of woman she thinks she should be, Mr. Darcy comes along and tells her that he likes her just as she is. With this admission the narrative changes. Bridget comes to see that that happiness lies not in self-perfection but self-acceptance. Moreover unlike our usual heroines, Bridget does not instantly fall into the man’s arms, she takes the time to consider her own feelings on the matter.
It is these small things that make Bridget, despite all her flaws and heavy drinking, the better role model than many rom-com heroines. One of her more remarkable differences is her dress size. Bridget doesn’t fit into an XS or a size zero. She is a normal sized woman like many of us. This itself is a huge departure from the majority of the women we see on-screen.
Moreover Bridget has consequences to her actions that she cannot escape – when she overeats she gains weight. This itself is a consequence many other rom-com heroines suspiciously seem to avoid. There is a sense of reality to Bridget’s journey that is lacking from other films fantastical approach to life.
While of course there are aspects that are corny and predictable to this film, there are shining moments. Bridget Jones is a different sort of heroine who has relatable struggles. The Bridget Jones films will never win oscars, but they don’t need to. They’re entertaining films that offers more than many other romantic comedies.