Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Universal Studios poster for the movie "Bridget Jones's Diary."
Universal Studios poster for the movie "Bridget Jones's Diary."
Bridget Jones in Thailand's prison scene from the movie "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason."
Bridget Jones in Thailand's prison scene from the movie "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason."

Movie Review

Rene Zellweger has been in numerous movies, but her role as the insecure character Bridget Jones seems to be the one she is most remembered. My opinion is that the Bridget Jones movies (Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason ) are examples of Renee Zellweger's best work as an actress that may some day be regarded as "a timeless classic". Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were fortunate to land roles in these movies. Yes, both are fabulous as well as "sexy" in them. These films are definitely two of Britain's finest pieces.

Bridget Jones's Diary , released in 2001, is a delightful movie portraying the ups and downs of a career woman. Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) is pretty, slightly overweight and not overly educated. When she is upset, Bridget indulges by eating comfort food like ice cream or chocolate. Her vices are very common and she lives in an ordinary English flat. There does not seem to be anything extraordinary about Bridget. In order to maintain her sanity, Bridget decides to lose weight and start a diary. She begins writing daily about what is occurring in her life as well as keeping track of the pounds she will be losing. Bridget is optimistic and determined to become thinner, a better woman. Bridget wants more out of her life which currently seems empty and without true love. She believes losing weight will assist in finding the man of her dreams. She does not plan hunt for him, instead she hopes he finds her.

Bridget's boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), solicits advances upon Bridget via email which Bridget does her best to ignore. She does not want to mix work with a relationship. Bridget knows that is dynamite; something to avoid. Unfortunately her boss seems enamored and insists on a first date. Bridget tries to get out of it, but Daniel talks her into one and their office romance blossoms. Bridget wonders if Daniel is "the one". She cannot help thinking about the man, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who snubbed her at their family's holiday party when her mother (Gemma Jones) tried to introduce them.

Mark Darcy inadvertently goes in and out of Bridget's life at the oddest times including while Bridget and Daniel are on a romantic get-away. Daniel and Mark go way back, according to Daniel; used to be college chums. They have a secret between them that has caused their friendship to disappear. They are rivals; cannot stand one another. Bridget remains faithful to Daniel until he breaks her heart.

One year later, Mark Darcy and Bridget meet again at another family holiday party, this time she is not snubbed. This time Mark is wearing a much worse looking sweater that his mother has insisted he wear. Bridget has not lost any pounds, actually gained a few, but that does not stop Mark from legitimately wooing Bridget once he finds out she is no longer seeing Daniel. Is Mark her true love? Or will another come into Bridget's life? These types of questions Bridget speculates in her diary as she moves forward with changing her career by leaving Daniel's employment and becoming a television news-reporter. There is much for Bridget to look forward to, but there is still much in the way for her to achieve happiness; has a lot to do with Mark. Will their relationship grow and last? Only time will tell.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason , released in 2004, begins four weeks after the movie Bridget Jones's Diary ends. Bridget Jones (still played by Renee Zellweger) is still obsessed with bettering herself, losing weight and smoking less. Mark Darcy (again played by Colin Firth) does not care for women who smoke so Bridget has Mark believing she has quit. Her new career as a television news-reporter is on the rise. She is getting unique assignments that include parachuting out of an airplane. They are not the cream of the crop type of assignments and the camera man keeps shooting her fanny, but they pay the bills. Bridget Jones is happy with her career, yet finds herself not fitting into Mark Darcy's conservative social world and keeps committing blunders at social functions. Bridget, unable to take much more, decides to take a break from seeing Mark. This break in their relationship turns out to be longer than planned because her new boss sends gives her an overseas assignment that she tries not to take because Daniel Cleaver (role reprised by Hugh Grant), Bridget's ex-boyfriend who was engaged to another while seeing Bridget, will be her co-anchor.

Reluctantly, Bridget packs and goes on assignment in Thailand. Daniel at first is distant, but friendly. Slowly he gets Bridget to believe he is a "changed man" and then tries to woo her back. Bridget still having feelings for Mark refuses to sleep with Daniel and decides to return home. Their assignment has been fulfilled and Bridget wants to get on with her life without Daniel. Her decision to leave and help her lady friend, (played by Sally Phillips) who went with her for moral support, by packing a souvenir in Bridget's suitcase, leads Bridget right into prison. She is arrested for possession. Daniel saw her arrest and did nothing; kept walking toward his plane back to Britain.

While in prison Bridget recaps for her fellow lady inmates her ex-relationship with Daniel and her fear of having lost Mark Darcy to his assistant (Jacinda Barrett) who is highly intelligent, self-confident, tall, can do nothing wrong and has "sexy legs". She is everything Bridget is not and the type of woman Bridget wishes she was. Her fellow inmates feel sad for Bridget as she explains how "cocked up" her life is and they give her their empathy as well as share their stories with Bridget. These horror men-women relationship stories of theirs make Bridget re-think; realize her life was not as bad as she had believed.

The moment Bridget believes no one is going to rescue her and her destiny is to remain forever in Thailand's prison, Mark Darcy visits. He professionally as a Barrister explains the legality of her plight and the necessary aspects needed for her release. He makes it very clear their relationship is over, that he has moved on with his life. Bridget returns to her prison cell and fellow inmates crushed.

Time passes, Bridget becomes speculative throughout the rest of her prison stay. Upon her release she is prepared for spinsterhood and a non-complicated solo life as a career woman. Bridget has resumed smoking and lost a few pounds from being in prison so looks as well as feels a little "hotter". Again, Bridget is optimistic and looking forward to resuming her career as a news-reporter on the television. Bridget can hardly wait to get home, back to her English flat in London. She has no idea the lengths Mark Darcy took for her release. Bridget has no idea of Mark Darcy's feelings that he still has for her or that he again had a fight in a fountain with Daniel because Daniel had not done anything to get Bridget out of Thailand's prison before leaving Thailand.

That is until her long-term friends (played by James Callis, Shirley Henderson, Lucy Robinson, and Sally Phillips) inform her that when Shazzer (Sally Phillips) arrived from Thailand she immediately contacted Mark Darcy in order to enlist his aide as a Barrister for the release of Bridget. Her friends are very pro Mark Darcy and explain what a hero he is. They talk Bridget into going to Mark's home to thank the great "Mr. Darcy". Reluctantly and after changing her clothes into something "sexier", she complies only to find the sexy assistant of Mark's at his house. Her jealousy flares until Bridget is told by the assistant a secret which creates a bridge into Bridget's heart for Mark and makes her realize how foolish her jealousy had been. The rest of the film is about Bridget winning Mark back since he truly is her "true love" after all.

Both Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason  have a great people story. Bridget's problems are similar to most women's; especially single ladies who are thirty-ish. Both movies are based upon books of the same title authored by Helen Fielding. Bridget Jones's Diary was directed by Sharon MacGuire while Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was directed by Beeban Kidron. The change in directors is hardly noticeable because most of the cast is from Bridget Jones's Diary, few new additions in cast. Hat's off to cast and crew for two great comedies worth watching.

Bridget Jones's Diary is 1 hour and 37 minutes in length while Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason runs longer with a whopping 2 hours and 20 minutes. These were so interesting that I did not notice how long either film ran. At the end of each, I thought, "Don't end yet!" Unfortunately, all good movies have to end.

Both of these films are rated R due to their European adult subject material and sexual language. Definitely not for teens, pre-teens or children (movie industry opinion listed on DVD as well as mine). If you enjoy a good romance-comedy with a "some what" happy ending, these movies are definitely your cup of tea! For all fans of Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, these movies are absolutely a "must see". Highly recommend viewing Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Enjoy!

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