Bridget Jones Diary is the ultimate fairy tale. Girl gets the guy—a GREAT guy—despite her myriad imperfections. What’s not to love?
Most movie heroines are anointed with a single bad trait, like when they make Katherine Heigl clumsy (but only slightly less beautiful) in 27 Dresses. Unlike those heroines, Bridget has enough flaws to fill a suitcase. During the course of the story, Bridget wedges herself into a pair of Spanks, botches an introduction at a book launch party hosted by her employer, fails to quit smoking, accidentally cooks blue soup, and fishes leftovers out from under the seat cushions of her couch.
As someone who often stumbles for the right thing to say, is losing the battle with gravity over my sagging a*@, and can’t figure out how to get the meat and veggies to be done cooking at the same time—I identify with Bridget’s imperfections.
I especially love that Bridget is a slob, complete with plates and magazines strewn across her living room. When I watch her walk out of her apartment with a pair of underwear static-clung to the back of her skirt, I think I’ve been there. Bridget makes me feel a little less embarrassed by the ever-present pile of half-dirty clothes on the floor next to my bed.
Yet despite all of this, Mark Darcy, a man who folds his dirty underwear, loves her anyway. Just the way she is.
I’m not saying that finding a man—or partner—is something everyone needs. Or that it should even be a goal. But if you do end up with someone, it’s nice to think that it’s someone who commits to you fully aware of your entire diverse portfolio of imperfections, quirks, and odd habits.
What Bridget lacks—and which endears her to me even more—is an extreme make-over moment. You know, the point in the story where the heroine finally gets what she wants courtesy of her startling physical transformation at the hands of either a professional stylist, fairy godmother, or a friend who plans to go to cosmetology school. Think Cinderella, Rachael Leigh Cook in She’s All That, Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries, and Olivia Newton John at the end of Grease.
The message is: If you can figure out how to get pretty you will win the guy and—as an added bonus—become ruler of a clique or small, but charming country. As far I know, this has never worked out for anyone in real life—at least not long-term.
Yes, I admit that I secretly wish Angelina Jolie’s stylist would materialize in my bedroom and show me how to properly create the smoky look with my make-up. And I seriously need to start doing Pilates. But deep down I know that no change to my outsides is going to improve my relationship with my husband—or improve my career prospects. And I would never trust a man who had only noticed me for the way I looked. (Tried that with a few men I met in bars when I was single and, well, let’s not go there right now.)
Another Bridget plus: She doesn’t have to modify her personality or change her character to win her man. Sandy in Grease couldn’t find happiness until she went trampy. In The Proposal Sandra Bullock is all business, cold to the point of being nasty to everyone around her. When she finally gets the guy, it’s because she has toned down her all work-no play personae. Ryan Reynolds would have never loved her just the way she was.
Bridget’s story is quite the opposite. She doesn’t have to reinvent herself to gain her prize. All she has to do is realize that she’s not a great judge of character when it comes to figuring out whom to date. Who hasn’t been there?
So cheers to Bridget. She causes most of her own problems, thwarts her own career, can’t remember to do her laundry, has a jiggley tummy, and says stupid things. Yet in the end, Darcy loves her anyway: Just the way she is.
Isn’t that what we all really want?