From Page to Screen: Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones's Diary (movie)I read and reviewed Bridget Jones’s Diary two summers ago so when I started writing From Page to Screen features I knew I had to review the movie. I think you may be surprised at what I think:

What I loved:

  • The casting: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant are perfectly cast. Granted, I watched the movie YEARS before ever reading the book so I couldn’t help but picture these people when I read but I really don’t think it would have made a difference. Colin Firth is Mark Darcy, no doubt about it. Renée is Bridget. They all breathe such life into the characters.
  • The adaptation: I’m pretty sure the reason the movie adaptation is so wonderful is because Helen Fielding (the author of the book) also helped write the screenplay. I don’t think any major plot point was left out of the film. If anything, the only thing missing is some of the back story about Bridget’s friends (it’s addressed briefly in the film and that’s OK with me).
  • The music: Each song is perfectly chosen for the scene. You know it’s good when you think, “Wow, that’s a great song!”
  • The subtle Jane Austen references: Oh yes, they are there. Bridget and Mark begin their relationship with bad first impressions. (Did you know that the first draft title of Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions?) His name is Mark Darcy (referred to as “Mr. Darcy” throughout the film). Bridget is both a typical and atypical woman (a modernized Lizzie Bennet). OH and the line, ““It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces” is a reimagined version of Austen’s most famous line in Pride and Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” I never really noticed these references in the book or in the 1000 times I’ve seen the movie. I supposed I’m well versed enough in Austen now that I’ve gone through graduate school to notice the similarities.

What I didn’t love:

  • Nothing.

Book vs. Movie

It’s a tie. I think they’re both done equally well. Bridget Jones’s Diary is a great adaptation of the book. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the film.

© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.

  • Peggy Farooqi

    I also did love both – book and movie. You are right, perfect cast. colin Firth and his christmas jumpers, Hugh Grant’s floppy hair and Zellwegger amongst them with her big-girl-panties = brilliant. Also brilliant side story about Bridget’s parents which I think gets often forgotten and is hilarious and sad at the same time. I also enjoyed the diary-style writing of the book. I think Fielding admitted ‘un-ashamingly’ that she stole the plot from Austen 🙂

    • JessicaWorkman

      You’re so right about Bridget’s parents. I think they get overshadowed because of all the other wonderful characters. 🙂

      I’ve spent all these years watching the movie and never realizing the Austen connection. Then all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. Funny how that works.

  • Bookworm Brandee

    *haha* Great review! I loved both the book and the movie as well – although I read the book first. I’m a huge Austen fan, so I love that the references are incorporated. And I completely agree with you that the casting and music were excellent!

    • JessicaWorkman

      Thanks you for the compliment, the comment, and for stopping by again 🙂

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