Bridget Jones's Baby
Bridget Jones's biological clock isn't just ticking; it's ringing. And Bridget's already hit the snooze button several times.
Now 43, Bridget never married her longtime, two-movie beau, Mark Darcy. But maybe that's OK. After all, she did finally hit her ideal weight. She serves as a producer for the successful television news magazine Sit-Up Britain. She owns a cozy flat in London—which, given London's real estate prices, might as well translate to her own private island in the Caribbean. It's not as if her life is a vast wasteland of sadness.
Sure, she had once hoped to settle down with Mr. Darcy by now, with maybe even a child or two. She'd been expecting to be expecting. But life never runs along the trail precisely as you plan. It's constantly leaping into the brush and bounding through untracked fields, forcing you to hurry along behind. Bridget understands this. She's single and childless and in her early 40s, and that's that. Might as well blaze a new path, she figures. And that should include a heady dose of hedonism.
First step: Hang out with her young friend (and Sit-Up Britain host) Miranda at a wild music festival. Miranda expects the two will dance 'til dawn, drink like particularly thirsty fish and, hopefully, hook up with a guy or two. In fact, Miranda wants Bridget to sleep with the first man she meets.
So she does.
Bridget didn't exactly plan to follow through on Miranda's orders. But after she falls in a mud pool, a handsome gent pulls her out and helps her put on her shoes again. "It fits!" he says, slipping the high-heeled shoe on Bridget's foot, pretending to be her very own Prince Charming, her oft-imagined Mr. Right.
Then, much later that evening, a drunken Bridget staggers through the festival's colorful yurt neighborhood looking for her tent, stumbles into one and begins drunkenly babbling about how much she could use a little sex. It is, of course, the wrong yurt, inhabited, of course, by Mr. Right. And Bridget, of course, stays 'til morning.
Six days later, Bridget rushes off to serve as a godmother at the christening of one of her friends' children. And who, pray tell, will be the godfather? No, no, not Marlon Brando. It's Mark Darcy, Bridget's former squeeze, of course. Sure, maybe he's married to someone else now, but not for long. Turns out their eternal bliss wound up being quite, um, ternal, and it's obvious that Bridget and Mark haven't lost their mutual spark. So they head upstairs together, if just for one more night.
Skip forward three months, and Bridget discovers she's not able to fit into her skinny jeans as well as she once did. Miranda asks if she could be pregnant, and Bridget insists it'd be impossible. She and her two fleeting lovers used protection, after all—biodegradable protection she bought sometime before the advent of the iPad.
Bridget was just getting comfortable with her new life path, and you mean to tell her that her life has bounded back the original one? It couldn't be. It mustn't be.
'Course, if you read the title of the movie, you know it can and it must.
While Bridget's belated bundle of joy was an unexpected bounty, she treats her baby as a very special gift. The minute she sees her child in an ultrasound image, Bridget's focus turns to the question, "What's best for the baby?" When her obstetrician brandishes a huge needle (with which to extract amniotic fluid for a paternity test), Bridget worries that the needle might hurt the fetus and walks out, cooing reassurances to her growing tummy. When she nearly gets hit by a car, Bridget's hands immediately reach for her belly protectively, caring more for the child's wellbeing, it would seem, than her own. She also eschews alcohol for the duration of her pregnancy—a remarkable feat, given her onscreen drinking history.
If Bridget's focus is on the baby, her two beaus focus on her. Both Mark and Jack—the mysterious man in the yurt—care for her deeply and, in their own way, compete for her affections. And while their relationship with each other is complex, both rally to her aid when she needs it. They even become friends with each other.
Bridget and her cohorts spend a great deal of time in churches. She attends the memorial service of Daniel Cleaver (one of Bridget's love interests from the first two films), delivering a less-than-tender eulogy. She and others appear at a wedding, as well. And then, of course, she serves as godmother at a church-centric christening—a less-than-holy ceremony, given that when Bridget shows up late, a little girl screams across the sanctuary, "Where the f--- were you?!" All three ceremonies are presided over by priests.
Elsewhere, Miranda says that music festivals are fantastic: "Sodom and Gomorrah with tofu," she says enthusiastically. Someone is said to be "richer than God."
Mark and Jack, of course, only have eyes for Bridget. We see her in bed with each of her lovers, kissing and caressing. There's a reference to Mark's stamina. We repeatedly see Jack shirtless, while Bridget's shown in just her bra (with the camera not going below mid-torso).
The two men also attend birth classes with Bridget, and they're mistaken for a same-sex couple who are assumed to be using Bridget as a surrogate for their child. Jack plays along, calling Mark his "little teacup" and using other terms of affection. (A lesbian couple is also part of the class.)
There are plenty of joking references—sometimes veiled in the presence of children—to various sex-related topics, including threesomes, promiscuity, fertility, virility and what birth does to a woman's anatomy. Mark, a barrister, is defending an all-female punk rock band. When he wins the case, they "honor" him by lifting up their shirts to reveal a special message to the public scrawled on their breasts. Daniel Cleaver's memorial service is filled with young female European models who, Bridget assumes, had intimate relations with him. "He touched many of us here today," Bridget says in her eulogy, intending the double entendre. There's also a veiled allusion to the female anatomy elsewhere in her speech.
Bridget's mother is running for public office, campaigning explicitly on a socially conservative "family values" platform. Bridget's pregnancy is an embarrassment to her campaign at first. Bridget tells her mother that it's not the 1950s anymore and warns her to get with the times, lest she lose her constituency and her daughter. That leads to Mum making a remarkable political turnaround, catering to unwed mothers and "the majority of homosexuals and Italians." She discovers that two older gents, longtime constituents, are lovers. We see the men kiss.
Someone sends Bridget a text full of suggestive emojis. She receives a naughty sext from Jack (unseen by the audience). There are references to Bridget being a cougar (an older woman whom men would like to have sex). We hear a couple of obscene, sex-related acronyms. A bevy of men moon a live television feed. The television's computer freezes, leaving the men's exposed backsides frozen on a large display screen. People sometimes whistle at Bridget as she walks by.
In the throes of contractions, Bridget slugs someone in the face. She's obviously in great pain during labor.
Interviews referencing mass killings and genocide are conducted on Sit-Up Britain.
Crude or Profane Language
Nearly 40 f-words, including some heard in songs playing in the background. God's name is misused more than a dozen times, and Jesus' name is abused about 15 times. Characters use the s-word thrice, along with "a--," "b--ch," "d--n" and "h---." We hear the British profanities "b-llocks" and "bloody." There are crude slang references to body parts as well.
Drug and Alcohol Content
When not pregnant, Bridget drinks—often to excess. (In fact, she even mulls whether all of her previous drinking might've hurt the baby.) She consumes a great deal of alcohol at the music festival, quaffing shots and mixed drinks in a boozy montage. All that liquor leaves her disoriented: She gets lost on the way to her yurt and stumbles into Jack's instead. She also drinks wine (once while celebrating her birthday all by herself), while Mark orders a double shot of whiskey at a bar. Characters smoke cigarettes. Jokes are made about binge drinking.
When she learns she's pregnant, Bridget abstains from alcohol, reaching for a glass of water instead of a proffered flute of champagne. Her temporary teetotaling ways cease once the baby is born.
During the delivery of her baby, Bridget says she's open to using any sort of drugs that might dull the pain. She's deeply disappointed when she's told that she's too far along in the delivery process to receive an epidural.
Other Negative Elements
Bridget urinates on a pregnancy test device as directed (we see her sitting in a stall and then hear liquid in the bowl). She vomits in a trash can. Her father is also shown sitting on a toilet. There are jokes about passing gas.
During her pregnancy, Bridget is forced out of her job at Sit-Up Britain by a young upstart who wants to make the show more sensationalistic. Bridget refuses to kowtow to this new direction. "Maybe when my boy is old enough to understand, integrity will be fashionable again," she says, walking out.
It's a nice sentiment. It'd be great if integrity was always in fashion. But in Bridget Jones's Baby, some forms of integrity are better than others.
Professional integrity is respected here, as far as it goes (even though Bridget's hardly a bastion of professionalism herself). A certain kind of personal integrity is lauded as well: Both Mark and Jack are thoughtful, each showing their own special brand of romanticism and each sacrificing to give Bridget—and the baby—the care they both deserve.
In some respects, Bridget Jones's Baby lauds even a certain kind of old-fashioned integrity: A monogamous relationship, sealed with vows and a ring, is still seen as the end-goal of any good romance. And Bridget clings to the idea of a "knight in shining armor," a man who will treat her like a lady and, when the need arises, literally whisk her off her feet.
That said, the idea of sexual integrity before marriage is certainly not fashionable here—not in Bridget's world, and not in Bridget's life. Indeed, the idea of embracing "family values" is explicitly called out as a relic of an earlier time—an antiquated notion best abandoned, lest we get left behind.
It's mirrored in how the Church, and churches, are dealt with in the movie. They're still important locales for special life landmarks: christenings, marriages, funerals. And yet any sort of substantive relevance the Church might've had in these people's lives is wholly absent. Here, the Church is toothless and tamed, simply happy to be trotted out for special occasions.
Bridget Jones's Baby wasn't a horrible movie. It's funny in places. But even though I laughed, it made me sad, too. Sad that the definition of integrity is now whatever we want it to mean. Which, when you think about it, is exactly the opposite of what it should be.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones; Patrick Dempsey as Jack Qwant; Colin Firth as Mark Darcy; Emma Thompson as Dr. Rawling; Sarah Solemani as Miranda; Jim Broadbent as Bridget's Dad; Gemma Jones Bridget's Mum; Kate O'Flynn as Alice Peabody
Sharon Maguire ( Bridget Jones's Diary)
September 16, 2016
December 13, 2016