Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bridget Jones Diary as a Romantic Comedy

The movie Bridget Jones Diary meets expectations of the Romantic Comedy genre. Bridget is a single girl looking for love and writing about it in her Diary. The importance of her finding love is established in from the beginning as her Mother is always setting her up and she also reacts enthusiastically when she meets someone. For example, she hears wedding bells with Daniel from the very start. The music in the movie really shows the emotions of the scenes for example slow motion and fantasy music is used when Bridget meets Marc, or triumph music is played when an obstacle is overcome like she is determined to move on and forget about men.

Common to the genre, they pretend they don’t like each other as he is already setup as a middle aged bore from the very first scene and she also overhears him talking bad about her. Yet there are awkward moments between them as they each put their foot in their mouth or one sticks up for the other in a conversation making it obvious they like each other. They are always coincidentally running into each other when they are not together, also expected by the viewer as this sets up the “meant to be” aspect of the genre.

There are many obstacles to them getting together. However, Daniel provides the first and most important obstacle to their relationship. He lies and says Marc cheated with his wife leading Bridget to think badly of Marc. Then Daniel and Briget form a relationship prior to her getting together with Marc, which can also be found in many of these types of movie to show the wrong relationship. Daniel’s initial lie is a setup for the triumph moment at the end of the movie when she finds out the truth and set to the music of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and she goes to find him and declares her love through in front of entire party of people as a grand gesture. As also is typical, she arrives too late and he is engaged to someone else. This movie toys with viewer’s emotions in this way throughout so that you think they will get together and then they don’t. However, going along with the rules of the genre at the end he comes to find her. Once again you think she will lose him when he reads bad things she wrote about him in her diary. The fairytale ending finally comes to a close when his reaction is to buy her a new diary so they can start over. The final picture leaves “The End” like a fairytale, but its crossed out an they write “The Beginning” signifying it’s the beginning for this love.

Chandler writes that “embedded with texts are assumptions about the ‘ideal reader’, including their attitudes towards the subject matter and often their class, age, gender and ethnicity” (Chandler 9). This movie is obviously a “Chic Glick” and geared to women because besides the love story it includes moment that would only be understood by women. Examples are the showing of Fatal Attractions ending, growing old and being eaten by wolves, self help books about men. It also counters these with her taking charge and changing her jobs to get away from Daniel, throwing those books out getting books about being happy with men. She is taking charge of her life. The music here is “I’m every Woman” selected to make women feel good about what she is doing. By making fun of many of the singleton’s challenges in the world for staying single, I think that this movie says about our time that it is okay to be single. Her remaining single still wouldn’t be a truly satisfying ending due to expectations and so she gets the guy at the end. However, the movie still pushes acceptance of being single because I think less women today are settling for bad relationships just so they don’t have to be single.

According to Chandler, “The issue of difference also highlights the fact that some genres are ‘looser’ – more open-ended in their conventions or more permeable in their boundaries – than others” (Chandler 4). After consideration of this movie and many others, I believe that Romantic Comedies may even have the loosest boundaries of all genres. Love stories have endless possibilities of setting, character and time. This fact goes along with their whole point of love being meant to be or it can happen to anyone.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting ideas--keep pushing so that the focus, especially at the beginning, is on 'what one would expect a romantic comedy to be' (giving examples), and then moving to showing where those show up in Bridget Jones. And keep thinking about what makes a 'Chick Flick' a 'Chick Flick' It's too broad a generalization, I think, to suggest that it will 'only be understood by women.' The marketing of these works might suggest that, but are women and men really so homogeneous that one could make such a claim?