Bridget Jones’s Diary is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth stars in both the BBC mini-series and this film as the Mr. Darcy character. Hugh Grant plays an alternative love interest at times. Renée Zellweger plays Bridget Jones. Much like Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, and She’s All That, the source material is heavily modified.
Zellweger was nominated for an Oscar for her performance. It has been reported that she put on 25 pounds for the role because the Bridget character is written to be a fat person. This is the first problematic part of the film. Zellweger as Jones is not fat, she is a normal-sized human being. She has many unhealthy habits, but her weight is fine.
Adapting a classic novel into a modern context means mapping more relatable situations onto the story. Instead of being in the British aristocracy, Jones must work and as a result, we get a workplace romance. Unfortunately, it is with her boss and highly inappropriate. Portions of this film could serve as wonderful training for how to not conduct yourself in the office and what an imbalanced power dynamic would look like. As much as I want to think the film is exaggerating the workplace environment, it is still very believable that it could have happened. It does not help that the film is also from Miramax.
Moving beyond the two biggest problems with the film, it is enjoyable. It is a well-written, acted, and directed film. It is a rom com through and through with a posh British veneer laid over top. It has become a classic representation of rom com for good reason and led to a series of successful films. It kicked off three years of Oscar nominations for Zellweger, culminating in a win the third year. If you want an easy film for a lazy weekend afternoon, this is a great choice.