IN THE flirty world out there, you have to battle your way through perfumes, dresses, shoes and other glamorous things that would lure a lovely man into your cage. But as painful as it is, age is a valuable asset and being in your thirties is as hard as you can get. In this age bracket, we meet Bridget Jones, 32, who seeks a functional relationship and tries to improve herself based on her New Year’s Resolution.
An eager fan of Jane Austen, Helen Fielding outlined her novel “Bridget Jone’s Diary” with that of “Pride and Prejudice.” We see the characters of Mr. Wickham as Daniel Cleaver, a carefree and selfish man and Mr. Darcy as Mark Darcy, a highly educated and respectable man. In the story, the two has also unsettled accounts and later in the film they find themselves hitting each other in the streets, which would lead to a background music of “It’s raining men”.
As for Elizabeth Bennet’s character, she is no longer shy and constrained woman. Things have changed. Bridget is battling not the economic problems but couple problems. She has been teased over and over again by her relatives, mostly by her mother, and every year they try to set something up to her. She is so happy when she gets laid that she calls herself as a “sex goddess”.
The popularity of this book (i.e. being a best-seller) surprised Helen Fielding. The American culture is more geared to self-improvement and success. Reading about a book full of failures and shame is likely a culture shock. But it seems like there are many people are like Bridget, they don’t just admit it.
Bridget also mirrors a cosmopolitan woman. On her upcoming date, she reveals “being a woman is worse than being a farmer – there is so much harvesting and crop spraying to be done: legs to be waxed, underarms shaved, eyebrows plucked, feet pumiced, skin exfoliated, and moisturize, spots cleansed, roots dyed, eyelashes tinted, nails filed, cellulite massaged, stomach muscles exercised.” Most of the time, I really don’t know what she’s saying but they are all funny when she gives off a metaphor and an irony.
“Bridget Jone’s Diary” is written as a typical diary: Time and Day, Fragment sentences, clichés and Frank – when Bridget is asked to a dance she describes his partner as, “he seemed to have, well, not to put too fine a point on it, the most enormous erection I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across, and us dancing so close it was not the sort of thing one could pass off as a pencil case”. Incidentally, she spares us from the detailed description of what’s it like to have sex but if she didn’t, it would probably a 5-page treatise.
The book and the film are similar except the ending, which I think the film has an edge. The film is also much warmer than the book. We don’t see Renee Zellweger (Bridget) ranting everywhere like in the book but see her as a responsible and caring adult – but clumsy as ever.
The film’s adaptation also borrows Colin Firth, the same actor who actually played as Darcy in the Pride and Prejudice BBC Mini-series. Hugh Grant, however, as the flirtatious Daniel Cleaver doesn’t suit his character. He just has this voice and face that implies his a noble man. He can’t persuade me that he is a bad boy after seeing his “Notting Hill”, “Music and Lyrics” and “Did You Head About The Morgans?”.
Bridget Jones is one of the most adorable characters I have ever read. She always fails on her short-term goals but still remains positive. I was happy when she got what she deserved.
Book Rating: ★★★☆☆
Movie Rating: ★★★★★