Wednesday, September 19 , 2018, 4:28 pm | Fair 73º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’

2 Stars — Shallow

In Bridget Jones’s Baby, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) has returned after a long rest to carry on the sad, but comedic life she portrayed in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004).

While Bridget continues to pine for a happy life, she still behaves in a manner that continues to create roadblocks to her own happiness. Over the last 15 years she has chosen men who were emotionally unavailable, but the one person who continually shows up in each story is the very British, and emotionally reserved, Mark (Colin Firth), for whom she still carries a flame of attraction.

Bridget has always carried on a complicated series of relationships that run in parallel with one another. While she dates Mark, the man she loves, at the same time she finds herself attracted to someone else, leading to often hilarious circumstances. Predictably these situations leave her emotionally conflicted.

In a post-modern world where values are transitory, the only guide she lives by are her “feelings.” Needless to say, those feelings are not grounded in generations of wisdom.

Now facing her 43rd birthday, Bridget hears the proverbial ticking of her biological clock. She is almost past the prime of both her youth and her ability to have a family.

Along the way to middle age, she is taken to a festival where she meets and sleeps with a man she has known for 10 minutes. Bridget, who is not known for thinking about consequences in her life, consoles her anguished feelings about love by stumbling home to find herself in the arms of her former boyfriend, Mark, who is still in a troubled marriage.

Well what is one to do? Let’s sleep with him, too.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see what is coming. To her surprise, yes she can get pregnant at 43 years of age. The real question is, who is the father?

While her moral compass may be fogged over, her reaction to this dilemma leads to some very funny moments. It also leads to Bridget having to finally figure out who she is and what she values in life.

Without giving away to story, the communication and competition that emerges between the still-married Mark, and the mysterious “other” who turns out to be the super-wealthy techie guru, Jack (Patrick Dempsey), lead to some shallow, but funny, escapades.

Bridget, Mark and Jack are all living the stereotypical ego-centered lifestyle that is popularized in the mass media. If anything, Bridget’s baby has forced them all to look at their lives and figure out what is most important to them. All of this culminates in a surprise ending and wedding to the real father. If you want to know who it is, you’ll have to see the movie.

Life doesn’t have to be this complicated, but our modern society glamorizes self-indulgent behaviors and makes it seem exciting. It can be for a while, but if one wants a long, happy life with someone who shares your dreams and values, you do need to think beyond the moment.

It also is greatly helped when you surround yourself with a community of people who are committed to teaching wisdom and love to those around them. If the glamorized behavior of Hollywood worked, then everyone there would still be married. When I last checked, that hasn’t worked out so well.

Discussion

» The self-indulgent life of doing what “feels good” is shown by films such as this to be shallow. Do you think viewers go away having received the truth of this and change their lives? Why or why not?

» Do you know people who live in this primal immediacy as Bridget? How do you be a wise friend to them?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is the retired pastor of Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara and lead superintendent of Free Methodist Church in Southern California. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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