Bridget Jones Diary
The film that made big pants socially acceptable. Many who read Helen Fielding ’s original newspaper columns felt filming Bridget Jones’s Diary wouldn’t work, but happily they were wrong, the film is a delight, thanks in part surely to Richard Curtis of Notting Hill fame and Jane Austen adapter Andrew Davies being in on the scripting.
Equally risky – for British audiences at least – was choosing Renée Zellweger to play Bridget, but her accent is impeccable and her comic ability a revelation – the two public speeches she makes are so cringe-making some audience members may find their bottoms self-seal. Zellweger’s interplay with Colin Firth and Hugh Grant has moments of Hepburn/Tracy brilliance.
The tale of a 30-something singleton obsessed with men and why she hasn’t got one, her weight, alcohol and smoking, incongruously has more than a nod towards Jane Austen. But this 2001 comedy of manners has very contemporary sexual mores, a fist-fight, gay friend and separated parents, and even a poke at teleshopping.
Any film using one-time National Theatre of Brent stalwarts Jim Broadbent and Patrick Barlow can’t be bad; throw in the equally excellent Celia Imrie and Neil Pearson and you know the film will have comic depth. It does; but it also engages viewers who by the end are desperate for Bridget and Mark to get together, and for Cleaver to get his come-uppance, which they all do with Austen-like inevitability and neatness.
Current top 10
3: The Railway Children
4: The Italian Job
5: Life of Brian
7: The Third Man
8: The 39 Steps
9: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
10: Local Hero