Following the fantastic success of the book, a film version was inevitable but these things take time and four years passed before Bridget Jones’s Diary, the movie, reached the screens.
It was directed by Fielding’s friend Sharon Maguire, the model for Shazzer in the book. Famously putting on the pounds to play the role, Renée Zellweger received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress as Bridget and charmed even those critics who approached the film expecting to be unimpressed.
‘Ms. Zellweger accomplishes the small miracle of making Bridget both entirely endearing and utterly real,’ wrote Stephen Holden in the New York Times, and Roger Ebert was of the opinion that ‘A story like this can’t work unless we feel unconditional affection for the heroine, and casting Zellweger achieves that.’
Hugh Grant (who else?) appeared as sexy cad Daniel, Colin Firth was Bridget’s very own Mr Darcy. A small platoon of British character actors did sterling service in supporting roles, including Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent as Bridget’s parents, Celia Imrie as their best friend Una Alconbury and James Faulkner as Uncle Geoffrey.
Richard Curtis, fresh from Notting Hill, shared script-writing credits with Andrew Davies and Helen Fielding herself. The results pleased both audiences worldwide and many of the reviewers. ‘Frisky fun for bruised romantics’, according to Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, it was ‘one of the most genuinely funny romances for some time’ in the opinion of Empire’s Liz Beardsworth.
On screen, as on the page, Bridget had triumphed.