Film Review: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
In 2004, Beeban Kidron released Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, based on a 1999 novel of the same name by Helen Fielding. Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbend, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson and Jacinda Barrett, the film grossed $262.5 million at the box office.
Several weeks into Bridget Jones’ new relationship with Mark Darcy, the budding couple begis to show signs of potentially fatal incompatibility. As the two are driven apart, Jones slowly finds consolation in the arms of an old, much-hated flame. She must scramble to choose between this newfound passion or try and win back her estranged boyfriend.
Accomplishing what its predecessor failed to do effectively, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason enraptures its audience with a good bit of poignant, earnest moments able to make any girl or guy sigh with heartache. Though the film utilizes the same formulaic awkward comedy, sarcastic narration and power song drops, which defined the series’ first film, it contains an entertaining plot and a committed affirmation to the idea of not all men being terrible, untrustworthy cheats. It’s an idea able to soothe the heart in all the right ways.
There is not much of anything new in the comedy in this film. Audiences who laughed a lot watching the first film will certainly find themselves laughing during in this one. The same sort of embarrassing conversations, coupled with some good physical comedy, makes this sequel fun to watch. Zellweger is as beautiful as she is dorky playing Jones, but the combination seems to make her character all the more endearing. While situations are not as exaggerated as much as they were in the first film, the parts the film containing said exaggerations are done so funny enough to fit nicely. On the other hand, it seems the filmmakers found little self-restraint when scattering all sorts of anthemic pop love songs throughout the film. They add little to the story.
Jones continues writing in her diary and is happy to share portions of it with the audience too. The narration provides a captivating look into what women like Jones think and feel about their relationship, their hopes, fears, and perceptions about it. Many times it’s humorous, many times openly honest. This open air thinking makes the film very personal and insightful. It also provides ample context and depth to the dialogue.
When it comes to the romance, this film portrays it well. This could be because the story has strongly established the idea of Darcy and Jones truly belonging together. The filmmakers use this fact to give the audience something to become invested in and fight for, creating real conflict, real emotion, and in the end, real celebration. The relationship between Darcy and Jones, while retaining all its quirks, becomes deeper and more meaningful through all the plot developments. The way the narration gives deeper context to the dialogue between Darcy and Jones makes the film much more relatable.
Certainly, the most prevalent theme of this film seems to be the idea that no romantic relationship between two persons is ever without some differences. Yet, if the two persons truly love each other, then the differences won’t matter. The film’s story successfully conveys this point through simple storytelling and dialogue, a little bit of misdirection, and two central characters who are matched perfectly together. Further the film skillfully portrays Darcy and Jones’ differences in upbringing, class, and expectations. These points serve to show how much more remarkable their love for each other is despite having all the reasons to be apart. It might be clichéd, but this is, after all, a romantic comedy and the film does everything well enough in its own way to make the film good.
Awards & Recognitions
bold indicates reception of award/recognition
Empire Awards, UK
- Best British Film
Golden Globe Awards
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
- Best International Actress (Renée Zellweger
People’s Choice Awards, USA
- Favorite Movie Comedy
- Favorite Sequel
Teen Choice Awards
- Choice Movie Blush Scene (Renée Zellweger – Bridget lands in a pig pen)
- Choice Movie Rockstar Moment (Renéee Zellweger – For singing “Like a Virgin”)
Visual Effects Society Awards
- Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture