top of page

The Everlasting Appeal of Bridget Jones


The Everlasting Appeal of Bridget Jones

The latest film in the Bridget Jones series, due to be released in cinemas in 2025 is called ‘Mad about the Boy’. I love the title. It’s cute, it’s intriguing, it’s catchy. But whilst Bridget is mad about a boy (more on that later), I’d like to focus on why we’re all still, after 23 years, so mad about Bridget.


You’d be hard pushed to find a woman between the ages of 30 and 70 who hasn’t had their heart captured by Bridget. We have all been rooting for her for so very long and our enduring affection for her shows no sign of dimming.


So what is it about Bridget, and in fact Renee Zellwegger, that we all fell so madly in love with? I could’ve written a manifesto on this guys… but I’ve whittled it down to five key reasons.


First of all there’s the physical appeal. Bridget looks normal. There must’ve been grumbles at the time from Helen Fielding who created the character for the books, when she heard her awkward, plump, English leading lady was going to be played by a very thin, very polished Hollywood starlet. But somehow or other, Renee Zellwegger channelled her inner bedraggled, ice-cream addicted Londoner and came to really embody that character. Her skin wasn’t perfect. Her hair looked like it had seen cleaner days. She struggled doing her zips up and just generally never pulled off the groomed look that Daniel Cleaver preferred.


Which brings me to number two on the ‘Why we’re mad about Bridget’ list.


Ahhhh Daniel Cleaver. We’ve all had one haven’t we. The one that got away. The one that treated us like the proverbial dirt (ahem) on his shoe, but that for some reason we just couldn’t let go of. The hurt and humiliation Bridget endures at the hands of Daniel is painful because it’s so recognisable. Just as when our friend comes to us in this position and our heart aches for them, so it does for our Bridget. We hate him on her behalf don’t we? Because we’ve been there and we remember that pain. We’ve all had our own ‘All By Myself’ moment… singing a power ballad on the couch in our PJ’s, mainlining ice-cream straight from the tub after one too many vinos.


Next on the list is the fact that everything seems to go wrong for Bridget. She bounces from one emotional car crash to the next, making everyone laugh along the way. But what the writers of the films have executed so beautifully is that we’re never laughing at Bridget. She is not an object of ridicule but an object of affection. We’re laughing with her, whilst lots of the time she’s laughing at herself.


It’s how she styles out some of these humiliations which have led to her becoming the icon of film that she is. I’m thinking of her bunny girl outfit at the ‘tarts and vicars’ party in the original movie. Absolutely legendary. And of course that bunny tail was what caught the eye of Mark Darcy for the first time.


Aaaah OK. Speak of the devil. Point four: One of the reasons we love Bridget is her relationship with Mark Darcy. Maybe we haven’t had a complex on-off love affair with a Colin Firth lookalike… but we can all identify with meeting the one who you know is right for you, who you know would treat you well… but you’re too distracted by the Cleaver-esque heartbreaker to see it. Again, this relationship dynamic is so relatable! We’ve all sat there shouting at Bridget through the TV to wake up and smell the good dependable kind man. But we can’t be mad at her when she takes a while to see it. We feel you Bridge!


Our joy watching her marry him at the end of the third film was off the charts.


Last on the (abridged) list of reasons I reckon we’re mad about Bridget is her fantastic friendships. Shazza, Jude and Tom, played to perfection by the always hilarious Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson (she of the squeakiest voice in film history) and the acerbically brilliant James Callis.


One of the true blessings I think of being a woman, is the depth of our friendships and the meaning they hold in our lives. Sure; men have friends too. But more often than not, they don’t hold the same type of value as female friendships do. Our friends know our innermost thoughts, fears and dreams. They fight for us in rooms we’re not in. They hold us up when we’re all out of strength. They become our family.


Although some would say the love triangle that dominates the first three films is the big love story, I would beg to differ. The big loves of Bridget’s life are her friends. Their bond is unshakeable. Something else which probably resonates with lots of us lucky ladies watching the films or reading the books.


‘Mad about the Boy’ is set to see Bridget widowed (sob!!!) and re-entering the dating game with a much younger man. Although there has been much outcry from die-hard Bridget Jones fans about a film without the gorgeous Mr Darcy, one thing is for sure:


We’ll be rooting for you all over again Bridget. You’re one of our own.



Sarah Lawton


Comments


bottom of page