“Don’t shake it, you’ll hurt the baby” is our beloved, carefree Bridget’s response after taking a pregnancy test her friend is currently shaking. The test reads positive, and a now 43-year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger) finds her single and career-driven life interrupted by a new challenge – pregnancy. And if this is not enough, there is only a fifty-percent chance she knows who the father is.
Having last seen Bridget Jones on our screens 12 years ago, the release of a third film has provoked much excitement and anticipation. Will it live up to our expectations? Or will it destroy our memories of our whimsical, graceless Bridget? Well, let me tell you, Bridget Jones’s Baby delivers spectacularly, building on the hilarious, heart-warming, and classic elements of the previous films to incredibly new heights.
Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who is possibly father number one, is challenged by a new love interest: Jack (Patrick Dempsey), possibly father number two. Whilst one might initially feel the story may be outdated, it is this combination of the old with the new that is so gripping.
Bridget finds herself in a modern world of young “hipster” bosses, wacky music festivals with celebrities she does not recognise, and a new form of dating called Tinder. All whilst bringing along the classic elements of the first two films: her parent’s christmas parties, her always-cursing friends, and of course, Eric Carmen’s All by Myself. The effect of this is that the movie speaks to today’s younger audiences, whilst staying loyal to those who have been with Bridget from the beginning.
Our new Bridget also brings a sense of female empowerment. Where the first two films trace a woman desperately chasing after men and trying to hold a relationship, we now see roles reversed. Instead, Bridget is being chased by not only one, but two men – both claiming to be father of the fast growing child in her stomach. By portraying a pregnant woman in her forties as desirable, the film creates a new persona missing from modern day cinema; the ageing heroine. Female audiences, who may have only sympathised with Bridget in the earlier storylines, can now relate more than ever and thus, feel empowered in the ageing process.
It is only after considering this that one can discern that Daniel Cleaver’s (Hugh Grant) absence from this movie is actually beneficial. As a character who was very much a “lady’s man”, Cleaver often overwhelmed Jones; had he participated in this follow-up, Bridget’s newfound strength may not have shone through. So, while many hearts may miss Grant’s face from this release, it is a small price to pay for the aspirational figure Bridget becomes.
Bridget Jones’s Baby has transferred all the characteristics of an all-time favourite – Bridget’s clumsiness, mishaps, and utterly relatable ways – into the next decade with a completely contemporary twist in which audiences of all ages can relate. This fantastic transgression makes the film thoroughly enjoyable while still maintaining the emotional connection we all feel to the Bridget Jones we all love.