Sometimes living in New York we have access to opportunities that you can only describe as “pinch me” perfect. This week has been one of those weeks where we were not only invited to the premiere of the new Bridget Jones’s Baby movie complete with pink carpet, paparazzi and the cast of the movie (hello, McDreamy!), we got to sit down with Renee Zellweger and director Sharon Macguire for high tea. We discussed what Bridget Jones has taught them, what they think of women in Hollywood and Zellweger’s respect for “mom bloggers.” Pretty perfect, right?
If you are a fan of the original Bridget Jones movies, you will be pleasantly surprised that the latest installment is just as the lovable as the first. As Renee said in her interview, “it was the happiest reunion. It was so much fun to be back in her shoes or her boots and her walk and her laugh and her voice and her not quite altogether wardrobe and, you know, and back with her friends.” Sitting in the theater and seeing Bridget first flicker onto the screen we felt exactly the same way. A happy reunion.
Oscar(R) winners Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth are joined by Patrick Dempsey (yes, he’s just as handsome in person) in the latest Bridget Jones adventure, Bridget Jones’s Baby. The movie opens with Bridget celebrating her 43rd birthday and miserably alone. We feel like voyeurs as she drunkenly belts out a pretty epic lip-synch to House of Pain’s “Jump Around”, bringing you right back to that place of feeling like, this could totally be me. This is precisely what makes this character so lovable, there is a little bit of Bridget in all of us. Zellweger explains she loves comedy that comes from truth, “She sort of represents the truth of who we are versus who it is that we aspire to be.”
As luck would have it, Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack, played by Patrick Dempsey who is handsome, wealthy, loving and essentially perfect… on paper. She also is reunited with her long-ago love, Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) and soon finds herself pregnant and unsure of who the baby’s father is. Bridget flees after seeing the needle used for the amnio test which could determine the father and the movie unfolds as Bridget comes to terms with what she wants in life, not what society pressures her into believing she needs to find for herself.
As a newly turned 40-year-old myself, I’m finding there is a common theme among my girlfriends that life hasn’t turned out how we thought it would but we have the ability to make it what we want it to be. Which is powerful. Turns out Zellweger and Maguire are feeling the same pressures and having the same realizations. Zellweger confesses, “Your forties are big. You let go of the idea of what your life was going to be, and you lose friends. And it makes you renegotiate your life perspective entirely and what you value.... The minute we get out of our own way, you know, we stop making ourselves small by trying to conform to something that doesn’t necessarily apply to our lives. That’s when we thrive.”
For myself, and those close to me, there has been a lot of chatter about what makes us happy. Is it a stellar career? For some. Is it to have two perfectly poised children and a white picket fence in the suburbs? For some. But for others, myself included, it’s following your passions, surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good and indulging in moments that give you a creative jolt. It was refreshing to see the Bridget Jones character evolve and let go of what society prescribes for happiness and success, instead, “she’s finally a little bit more self-possessed and more inclined to listen to her own intuition.” Zellweger continues, “she’s sort of recognizing that the social paradigm for happiness does not apply across the board and that it’s okay to have and determine for yourself what happiness means, you know, even if it isn’t within the conventional ideal. And maybe the suggestion to not waste so much time trying to measure up but to recognize that, you know, she’s fine.”
She is fine. And that’s what makes this movie so satisfying. Bridget has grown with our generation and has stopped trying to orchestrate a life that perhaps wasn’t for her. She’s self-possessed, successful and goes after what quite simply, makes her happy. We can relate. Zellweger signs off with supportive words for the mom (and dad!) bloggers in the room, “Ladies like you who are not waiting to be invited by the establishment to express yourselves. You’ve created forums for yourselves to share with like-minded people, women, who will share your interests and gives you an opportunity to express yourselves creatively. People are interested in what [you] have to say…. The conventional way of doing things is kind of passé, and we should start to recognize that all of these women have something to say and it’s valid and it’s important.” We couldn’t agree more.
Bridget Jones’s Baby from Universal Pictures is a must-see movie hitting theaters this Friday, September 16th.
NANCY DEANE is a former marketing and lifestyle maven now on her biggest project yet: raising twins in Manhattan. This Canadian via California girl enjoys exploring beauty, fashion, travel and design (for adults and kids alike) and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram as @toastncandy. Read all of Nancy's posts.