Sunday 25 September 2016

cinematic sunday #2: bridget jones's diary

this week saw my return to uni and also a trip to the cinema to finally see the third instalment of the bridget jones film series, bridget jones's baby. after the disappointment of the second film and having heard mixed reviews about the latest offering, i wasn't sure what to expect, but the film didn't disappoint. and now, in a bid to revive my dying motivation and actually post something new here, i present the best songs from each bridget jones film. 

the first, and arguably best, film in the series is bridget jones's diary, which has one of the best openings in the history of cinema, as i'm sure most of us - be it the thirty-something mums knocking back the mini bottles of blossom hill, or the despondent twenty somethings such as myself - will agree, simply because we've all been bridget at that moment in time, alone in our pyjamas, slightly drunk and belting out the words to a classic power ballad, in this case, all by myself by country artist jamie o'neal.

as you'll know from my last cinematic sunday post, i love nothing more than a good movie montage, and bridget jones's diary definitely delivers on that front. bridget's getting-my-life-together moment is soundtracked by none other than the queen of funk, chaka khan and her iconic track i'm every woman, which makes me feel incredibly empowered every time i hear it. 

(on a somewhat related note: my favourite ever chaka khan track is ain't nobody, which can be found in this playlist which includes songs from a multitude of empowering female singers.)

by far the most dramatic moment in bridget jones's diary is the fight scene between her love rivals, mark darcy and daniel cleaver (quite possibly my favourite role hugh grant has ever played) outside a greek restaurant, set to geri halliwell's cover of it's raining men (not a patch on the original by the weather girls, which is again one of my favourite ever disco tracks, but still excellent all the same). need i say more?

this next part contains spoilers, so if for some strange reason you've never seen bridget jones's diary/don't know how it ends, then please proceed with caution. 

bridget finally gets her happy ending in the form of mark darcy, but first she has to go on a wild goose chase to catch him after he reads her diary and the less-than-favourable comments she'd written about him before they kissed and made up, wearing very little but a cardigan and a pair of tiger print knickers. her quest to find him is soundtracked by ain't no mountain high enough by diana ross, which oddly doesn't feature on the ~official~ soundtrack. 

once she's found him and received a new diary from mark himself, they engage in that oh-so-typical on-screen kiss we've come to expect from every rom-com ever, and the song playing is someone like you by van morrison (again, this version isn't on the actual soundtrack), which adds to the delightfully cheesy ending, and all is well in bridget's life... until it isn't. 

again, this next bit contains more spoilers, so if you haven't seen the second film, do proceed with caution (or you know, go and watch it and come back to this post; it will still be here once you're done).

the second part of bridget's story plays out in the second film, bridget jones: the edge of reason, released three years after the original, in 2004. i'll be honest; i haven't seen this film all the way through in a long time, but from what i remember, it didn't live up to the first one. a quick scan of the wikipedia page reveals that despite some uncertainty about their relationship, mark proposes to bridget, and she rebuffs the advances of mark's ex rebecca (if only they'd ended up together!). oh, and she gets arrested for attempting to smuggle cocaine out of thailand. the soundtrack for this one didn't live up to expectations either, though it does feature pop classics such as crazy in love and can't get you out of my head, as well as barry white's iconic track, you're the first, the last, my everything, which is probably the cheesiest love song ever written, but one of the best. 

from there, it would take another twelve (!!) years before the third instalment, bridget jones's baby finally hit our screens, and as i said before, my expectations were high despite mixed reviews. bringing back such iconic characters so long after the original film was always going to be a challenge, something demonstrated with the long-awaited release of the absoultely fabulous film earlier this summer. as an avid ab fab fan, i'd expected a plethora of new jokes from eddie and patsy, but the whole thing fell slightly flat and they seemed to be reusing old gags from the previous series. i was hoping the bridget jones reboot would be slightly better, and it definitely was. 

we'd originally planned to watch the film at eight on wednesday evening, but when we arrived at the cinema there was a queue of epic proportions, so much so that we had to wait until nearly nine for the next showing. the last time i'd seen the cinema so busy was when i went to the opening night of absolutely fabulous, and it was a similar story this week. pretty much every seat was full, showing that the appeal of bridget's story hasn't waned in the twelve years since she was last on our screens. 

you know the drill by now: spoilers ahead!

the film opened in the same way as the original, with bridget sitting on the sofa in her new apartment, drinking alone as all by myself blared from the speakers. some things never really change, except they kind of do. obviously technology has come a long way since 2004, and though it was cringe-inducing at times, i did appreciate the efforts to bring bridget and her friends into 2016; in the first scene she has a face time call with her mother, something 2001 bridget - and the rest of us at the time - would have found incomprehensible. 

the soundtrack also did a good job of mixing the old with the new, merging the soul sound of dionne warwick with pop heavyweights such as ellie goulding and ed sheeran. 

more spoilers await, so once again, do proceed with caution.

i'm going to talk about the film's ending first, as this was actually my favourite moment, both cinematically and also musically. bridget finally ends up marrying mark darcy, a decision i'm sure fans the world over will be delighted with; i actually heard people in the row behind me clap when she walked down the aisle. the final scene featured ellie goulding's new track falling for you, made especially for the film, and though i listened to it when it came out a few weeks ago, i wasn't a massive fan. seeing it in the context of the film totally changed my mind though; the euphoric quality of ellie's synth-pop sound was a perfect match for bridget's happy ending, and i did tear up at various points during the final scene. 

another slice of pop excellence came in the form of years and years' song for the film, meteorite. it doesn't actually feature in the film itself, but appears on the official soundtrack, and is a perfect party starter. (i don't know why this video is only 59 seconds long, but the full version can be found on spotify.) 

their track king does feature in the film during bridget's excursion to a music festival with her work friend miranda, and again this is a perfect party track that has permeated pretty much every night club dancefloor the world over; some of my favourite moments have been singing along to this song in gay clubs with my best friend. 

the disco classics that populated so much of the earlier soundtracks also made a return, including sister sledge's 1979 track, we are family, putting a somewhat ironic twist on bridget's unconventional family set-up as she tries to work out whether mark darcy or online dating guru jack qwant, who she encounters at said music festival, is the father of her child (no surprises for guessing who it turns out to be).

but before the feel-good comes the kind-of-terrible, and the catalyst for it all is bridget's run-in with mark at a friend's christening (all her party-loving friends from the first two films have now become new parents, though i like that they still drink to excess and swear blindly, not always out of earshot of the kids). after mark reveals he and his wife are set to divorce, he and bridget exchange a series of flirty glances across the room, set to a sultry track by knox brown, titled ignite, and the night ends in his hotel room. 

a series of unfortunate events leads to bridget losing her job just weeks before she's due to give birth and resigning while lily allen's ode to george bush, entitled fuck you, plays in the background. i'm sure this is a moment most people dream of, depending on how much they hate their job, and bridget gets to live out that fantasy while the rest of us continue the daily grind. 

(side note: i really, really miss lily allen; after the disappointment that was 2013's sheezus, i'm praying she'll one day make a return to the electro-pop perfection that was it's not me it's you, namely this.

it all works out for the best though and the film provided somewhat of a resolution to bridget's story. for me, bridget jones's baby is nostalgia done right. her relatability is still as strong as it ever was, proven by the hordes of middle aged women who populated most of the cinema that night, but the characters and their lives have been brought into the post-modern, post-ironic world of snapchat and selfies. while bringing back an old favourite can be tricky, this film was without doubt a success story. 

a playlist of all these songs, and a few extras, can be found here.

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