Has Bridget improved with age? Film critic Lucy Bickley re-acquiantes herself with the cheap rose-loving, granny-pants wearing heroine

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Images by Miramax , Studio Canal

After a lengthy break, Bridget Jones returns to the silver-screen, this time with a baby in tow. Helmed by the original film’s director, Sharon Maguire, Bridget Jones Baby reunites Bridget (Renee Zellweger)  with her Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) but this time, the scandalous Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) has been replaced by fresh-faced American love guru, Jack Qwant (played by Grey’s Anatomy heartthrob Patrick Dempsey.) In classic Bridget style, her pregnancy is not simple as she embarks on a light-hearted discovery as to whether the father is her old flame Mark Darcy or new man on the scene, Qwant.

Now, call me a simple woman, but even a predictable plot line and occasionally forced English stereotypes will not deter me from finishing this film and immediately going to grab a large glass of wine, heave on my pyjamas and scream off my hypothetical balcony to the non-existent crowd below ‘true love is real!’ Sharon Maguire has excellently recaptured the innocence of true love and the misgivings of life, in a time where cinema seems to be in a never-ending spiral of remakes and epic action movies. The subtly of her direction allows for natural humour and her unapologetic reuse of familiar comedy creates an easy-watching, heart-tingling movie.

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Fielding’s amusing attempt to bring Bridget into 2016 saw her dancing to Gangnam Style at a Christening and raving at an unusually polite and clean festival. Maguire’s creation of spacious dance tents and extensive glamping is a far cry from any festival I’ve ever attended (I must say I was rather envious)! Even though at times this modernisation felt forced and unnecessary, it added to the quirky charm of the film.

A sceptic of the Rom-Com genre would perhaps criticise these unrealistic aspects of the movie and criticise it for being predictable. Indeed, there were the classic misunderstandings that almost tore Mark and Bridget apart, there was plenty of accidental derrière wiggling and embarrassing moments, but it wouldn’t have been a Bridget Jones film without them! However, one must say that Colin Firth seemed to have revived his role in a far more awkward style than I once remember, and Jack Qwant’s eagerness seemed incredibly irritating if not a little creepy (however, I am biased as I really wanted Mark Darcy and Bridget to be together!).

Maguire has excellently recaptured the innocence of true love and the misgivings of life, in a time where cinema seems to be in a never-ending spiral of remakes and epic action movies

Some may have also missed the ever-dapper Daniel Cleaver, who died and then was amusingly resurrected throughout the film. Personally, I did not feel as though a great void had been created by his absence, as Patrick Dempsey was a welcome addition, and created a similar dynamic with Colin Firth. A special mention must be made for Dr Rawlings (played by the glorious Emma Thompson). Her wit and surprisingly intriguing minor character development throughout the film added a great spark to the plot.

And finally, Renee Zellweger looked great. No doubt about it. In the last couple of years she has received a lot of criticism about the way she looks and debates have been had about whether or not she has undergone the knife (well she is a woman in Hollywood after all). But who cares?! I champion her for taking the character on an honest and realistic journey, and if she wants Bridget to have lost weight then so be it, even if selfishly I did miss the granny pants and rosy cheeks. One of my personal favourite parts of the film was the final scene. Maguire brilliantly allowed the last moments to be filled, not with Bridget and Mark, but with Bridget and her son. This really felt like a testimony to the journey that Bridget and us, the viewer, had been on over the last three movies. She began as a thirty something singleton, and ended up married, with a child, yet still retaining her wonderful independence. The focus was well and truly on her.

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Verdict: The film has, understandably, received mixed reviews. There are the die-hard Bridget fans, who have gone to the cinema expecting almost a remake of the earlier classics, and found unwelcome tweaks and those who simply don’t understand the whimsy that is Bridget Jones! At the end of the day, if you want a film that’s an easy watch and makes you feel warm and cosy at the end, then this wonderful addition to the Bridget Jones series is the one for you. A must watch!

9/10

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