There was something of a furore back in 2000 when Rene Zellweger was announced as the choice to take on the eponymous lead in the cinematic adaptation of the bestselling Bridget Jones’s Diary. How could an American play such a quintessentially iconic British character?
I was not, personally, bothered by Zellweger’s casting because I had absolutely no intention of seeing the movie, having also not read the book.
And yet, as if to confound everyone’s expectations, I did see the movie. And have seen it many times since.
And Zellweger is absolutely spot-on as the quirky thirty-something neurotic Jones. I would imagine. As I say, I haven’t read the book, but others who have seem to think that Zellweger nailed it. Certainly I could easily believe that Zellweger’s Jones is British, which was sort of what the whole fuss was about to begin with.
And whatever people’s expectations were, it’s hard to argue that Zellweger is anything other than exceptional in this movie.
Along with Hugh Grant, who is clearly having enormous fun as the roguish Daniel Cleaver, and Colin Firth who is having less fun but nonetheless perfectly cast in his second screen outing as someone called Darcy (his first outing in 1995’s television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice being one of the primary reasons for his appearance in this movie), Zellweger absolutely shines, rendering Jones both sympathetic and hilarious.
Based on the kinds of movies I like, I probably shouldn’t like this, but it’s good enough to transcend all of my misgivings.
I expect I’d probably like the book too.
Score for Christmasishness
Although it’s based on a fictional diary, and thus takes place over the course of a year, it begins, as most diaries do, at the beginning of the year, when it still all looks a lot like Christmas (obviously a heavily fictionalised version of Christmas where it snows in the UK) and it also concludes at New Year, having taken in Christmas along the way (again, complete with unrealistic snow). And there is, of course, Colin Firth’s iconic Christmas jumper, which might well be responsible for the fact that we now all wear really bad Christmas jumpers at this time of year. So it’s a fairly Christmas(ish) movie all things considered.