By Gillian Harvey
Remember the uproar when size-zero beauty Renée Zellweger was cast as Bridget back in the noughties? Yet from the second we saw her – dressed in PJs and forlornly miming to “All by Myself” – we were smitten.
So to celebrate the return of Miss Jones in Bridget Jones’s Baby, we take a look at what makes this disaster-prone, romantically-challenged character so loveable – and we’ve followed it up with some of our fans' reasons, too.
She’s fabulously flawed
Bridget is a non-threatening fictional friend: attractive, but never knowingly over-groomed. Her attempts at sexy (black bra under sheer top; short skirt and tummy-flattening pants) remind us of our own former fashion faux-pas; and the fact that – even when dressed to the nines – she looks approachably scruffy is heart-warmingly refreshing. She may be in a film, but really, she’s just like us.
She says what we’re all thinking
Bridget’s face-off with the infamous “smug marrieds” was an important cultural moment. By branding such couples “smug” and cringingly joking that singletons are “covered in scales” under their clothes, she makes the point that if a woman isn’t “sprogged up,” married or head-over-heels in love, she shouldn’t have to justify herself.
When it counts, she gets it right
Although Bridget is branded “verbally incontinent” by Darcy (who can forget her launch speech for “one of the top ten books of our time, at least”?), sometimes she cuts straight to the point. She delivered a withering string of insults to Daniel when quitting her job; she had the self-belief to turn down Cleaver’s post-fight proposition, and whilst her outburst at the Darcys’ anniversary party may have been ill-advised, it probably landed her the love of her life.
She wears her heart on her sleeve
Bridget was an ‘’over-sharer” before it was a thing. Nowadays, we’re used to seeing blogs, vlogs and Tweets revealing all, but in the early noughties, finding that a relatively-successful singleton was riddled with insecurities and wearing “granny pants” under her LBD was refreshing. Bridget enabled us to admit that we, too, were insecure. Hurrah!
She’s relentlessly optimistic
Bridget has her fair share of problems, but an “emergency meeting with her urban family” always demonstrates that her glass is – often literally – half-full. Her belief that a mini-break means “true love” and her openness and determination to improve her lot has the audience rooting for her. Although she self-medicates, scoffing dried-up cereal and drinking vodka to ‘Chaka Khan,’ she also gets up, dusts off and starts a new diary page when life gets tough.
She gives us hope
Despite everything, Bridget lands a job in her chosen field, is adored by her friends, and has Mark Darcy race across an ocean to sweep her up in his arms, big knickers and all. She reminds us that we don’t have to be perfect for people to love us “just as we are.”
And here’s why our Facebook fans love her...
“She has the biggest heart and literally runs down the road in her pants in the snow for love.”
– Zoe Rhodes
“Because you don't laugh at Bridget, you laugh with her.”
– Arti Faldu
“When in any form of crisis - not being able to find something to wear, fearing current love interest may not be so lovely, risking job loss etc, I find myself thinking: what would Bridget do?! It's got me this far.”
– Fi Kirkham
“She inspires me to keep going even when things don't go my way. When I’ve had a bad day or need a bit of a laugh I'll always put on Bridget Jones.”
– Meg Anderson
“Because ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces’ Is my life motto.”
– Chelsea Louise
“She made me believe in myself and not just accept, but embrace my flaws.”
– Afrodite Petridou