Life’s Always Better With Internal Commentary: Our Review of 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby (Spoilers Ahead)

On a distinctly personal note, I have a friend who regularly asked the question: which genre does your life fit into?

His, admittedly high-school experience, was horror; I’d argue that life is drama by virtue of the self-aware inner voice built into our minds.

Director Sharon Maguire’s 2016 film, Bridget Jones’s Diary, echoes that view with a hint of feminist current affairs, that life is indeed dramatic.

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A series of character posters for 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby, starring (from left to right) Patrick Dempsey, Renèe Zellweger and Colin Firth (JustJared.com Photo)

Please note that this was our first Bridget Jones film and our first experience with director Maguire’s filmography.

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Director Sharon Maguire arrives at the world premiere of 2013’s Call Me Crazy: A Five Film in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photo and Caption via TheHollywoodReporter.com)

Over the course of picking apart 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby, and to a degree director Maguire’s 2008 film, Incendiary – and as helped a great deal by The Telegraph’s Sheila Johnston’s piece on Incendiary – a few tentatively-branded trademarks made themselves known:

  1. Stories about women torn between two men: Much like 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and 2008’s Incendiary, 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby carries this theme with Bridget’s simultaneous relationships with Mark and Jack.
  2. Parallels with director Maguire’s own life experiences: 2008’s Incendiary involved its protagonist’s husband being killed in a London-set bomb attack and, less by deliberate design, the director’s husband missed one of the destroyed buses in the 7/7 attacks on London; 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby echoes Bridget’s experiences of being alone in a married landscape by alluding to her own experiences as being a similarly-aged mother in Los Angeles between films, as discussed by The Sun’s Dan Jolin; and more specifically, both Bridget and director Maguire were television producers.

Please feel free to pitch your own Maguire-isms in the comments; we’d love to hear from you and add to this list as we go along.

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Author, co-screenwriter and columnist Helen Fielding at the film’s world premiere in London’s Leicester Square (StraitsTimes.com Photo and Caption)

The script, courtesy of Emma Thompson, Dan Mazer and Bridget Jones author and columnist, Helen Fielding, is noteworthy for a few reasons: its dialogue and the largely-shown-not-told-until-much-later-in theme of loneliness and marriage. Neither of the latter isn’t really discussed openly – barring a conversation with Emma Thompson’s Dr Rawlings – until their respective culmination in the film’s last third.

There’s also a bit involving feministic current affairs – à la rights marches and Pussy Riot-esque bands – that’s shown but never espoused openly by Bridget via exposition as such.

That being said, the film isn’t really anachronistic with its characters superficially; they’ve moved on in the world, as also echoed by EyeForFilm’s Anne-Katrin Titze.

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(from left to right) Stars Patrick Dempsey, Renèe Zellweger and Colin Firth at a premiere event for 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby (ITV.com Photo and Caption)

The core acting trio – of Renèe Zellweger’s Bridget, Colin Firth’s Mark and Patrick Dempsey’s Jack – are consistent with their mannerisms of self-aware television producer, unflaggingly work-oriented lawyer and newer-age billionaire, respectively. There is a degree of evolution for each of these three, in context of their relationship with Bridget: whilst the latter does become a ‘smug married‘, Mark eventually breaks with work to devote himself to Bridget more whilst Jack goes from being a tad bullying and self-obsessed (à la, ‘greatest possible mother to my child’) to becoming accepting of Bridget’s choices.

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Composer Craig Armstrong (Tuairisc.ie Photo)

The music, including composer Craig Armstrong’s two pieces on the album – Race to Mark’s Flat and Wedding – and an especially noticeable strings piece during a scene with Bridget and Mark, post-christening, is on-point thematically with the rest of the film. The soundtrack – with some suitable but on-the-nose contributions by Lily Allen, Sister Sledge and Ellie Goulding in that order – also works, even on standalone listens.

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Director of Photography, Andrew Dunn, behind the scenes on 2015’s The Lady in the Van (BritishCinematographer.co.uk Photo and Caption)

The cinematography, by director of photography, Andrew Dunn, is seasonal, mixed with indoor coziness, to be precise: there are a great deal of reds, golds, browns and greens in the film’s mostly autumn-time setting which transitions to an equally crisp but wintry feel as the film winds down. The depiction of indoor and outdoor lighting as being spherical aura-esque without any definite bulb or frame is also curious.

There’s a curiously dream-esque sequence as Mark carries Bridget off to the hospital, accompanied by slow-motion: foreshadowing, perhaps?

With more simplification than Bridget Jones’s Baby warrants, Bridget Jones’s Baby is a delightfully self-aware, autumn-ly-filmed un-anachronistic updating of Bridget Jones and company. Worth watching with or without any prior Bridget Jones fandom.

(While the opinions and observations cited above are the author’s own, unless cited, the following sources were used to acquire facts: DailyMail.co.uk, IMDb.com, Telegraph.co.uk, TheSun.co.uk)

Plot: a now pregnant Bridget Jones has to figure out who is the father of her unborn child.

Prologue: Bridget Jones marks her 43rd birthday in her flat by herself.

Act 1: Bridget goes to attend Daniel’s funeral; she decides to return to work instead of meeting Mark.

Act 2: Bridget decides to return home to celebrate her birthday alone; she decides to pack for the trip to the music festival with Miranda.

Act 3: Bridget mistakenly enters Jack’s tent post-music festival; they decide to spend the night together.

Act 4: Bridget decides to go to the christening event at the church; she chooses to spend the night with Mark post-event.

Act 5: Bridget learns of her pregnancy some weeks after; she decides to ask her doctor what to do.

Act 6: Bridget decides to get Jack for an interview with her newscaster; she meets him afterward and decides to let him know of her pregnancy.

Act 7: Bridget decides not to get the DNA test done; she decides to tell Mark about her pregnancy too.

Act 8: Jack visits Bridget in her flat; Bridget decides to accept his ‘second date‘ offer.

Act 9: Jack and Mark meet Bridget at her work event; she decides to break the news to both of them together.

Act 10: Bridget decides to call Jack and rush to the hospital under a false-alarm; Jack bullies Mark into leaving.

Act 11: Jack confesses his actions to Bridget; she decides, but fails, to meet Mark.

Act 12: Bridget decides to quit her job at the newscaster; she later accepts Mark’s offer of help after she’s locked out of her apartment.

Act 13: Bridget lets Mark take her to the hospital; Jack meets them en route.

Act 14:  Bridget gives birth; Mark and Jack head off for the DNA test.

Epilogue: Bridget marries Mark; Jack waits on them with former’s new son, William.

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