Events Calendar
May 15
17:00 - 19:00
'Diary of a Somebody': Bridget Jones' Journey From the 'Edge of Reason' to Marriage and Motherhood
film,|Film, Media and Culture Research Cluster|Film, Media and Culture Research Cluster Seminar
Dr Nigel Mather (University of Kent)

Reviewing Bridget Jones's Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001) in the Evening Standard, Alexander Walker speculated that one attraction for cinemagoers lay in the film's suggestion that 'you can be a social embarrassment, a professional no-hoper and fat too, and still have two handsome hunks fighting over you'. Promoting Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Beeban Kidron) in 2004, posters for this sequel declared in the kind of double-edged discourses typical of the films that Bridget was 'back and bigger than ever'. In 2016, the year which saw the release of Bridget Jones's Baby (Sharon Maguire), Bryony Gordon in the Daily Telegraph celebrated the inclusion of Bridget Jones in a BBC Woman's Hour Power List of women who had made the 'most impact on female lives in the past seven decades'. Gordon praised the character of Bridget, stating that she 'took all the terrible bits of being single' and made audiences 'laugh about them'.

Laurie Penny in her study, Unspeakable Things: Sex Lies and Revolution (Bloomsbury, 2014), eloquently claims that 'romance allows us to reject the grim meat-hook reality of work and death', whilst noting that in our current times, 'Your job is now like your boyfriend: neither of them can be trusted to stick around'. Hence, Bridget's search for happiness and fulfilment is comically complex and not easily achievable. Nigel Mather's talk will explore a series of issues for debate and discussion arising from the Bridget Jones trilogy and the films' depiction of Bridget's hopes, desires and fears. How are relationships, parents and friends portrayed in the films? What kinds of comedic and dramatic effects are generated out of Bridget's experiences as depicted in the workplace and the bedroom? What are we to make of the eclectic range of cultural allusions to deceased dictators, F.R. Leavis and Ed Sheeran in the films? What are the implications of the film-makers declining to follow the rather tragic narrative developments of the third Bridget Jones novel, Mad about The Boy (Helen Fielding, 2013), when producing Bridget Jones's Baby (2016)?

Michael Caine's character in Alfie (Lewis Gilbert, 1966) wonders wistfully at the end, 'What's the answer…What's it all about?' What kinds of answers to such questions about life, love and the search for meanings might be offered by the eponymous Bridget Jones? The talk aims to examine Bridget's story as 'Her story', and possibly the story of lots of other people, too. 

Dr Nigel Mather is an Honorary Researcher in the School of Arts at the University of Kent. He is the author of Tears of Laughter: Comedy-Drama in 1990s British and is currently working on a follow-up study, 'Love in a Damp Climate': Sex and Desire in British films of the 2000s to be published by Manchester University Press. The book aims to achieve an enhanced understanding of how British films of the 2000s engaged with the themes of love, sex and desire in films of different narrative styles and generic modes to consistently productive, imaginative and thought-provoking ends.


Lecture Theatre 2,
Darwin College,
University of Kent,
United Kingdom


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Contact: Angela Whiffen
T: 01227 827228
School of Arts


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Last Updated: 10/01/2012