Bridget Jones’s baby is the 3rd installment of the Bridget Jones’ saga…
The first one was thoroughly enjoyable. Second, likable. The third and latest was released in September 2016, and I absolutely hated it.
The movie made me angry. I stopped watching it three times before I finally finished it. When the final credits finished rolling, I almost gave it two stars. Instead, I gave it three so as not to confuse Netflix’s recommendation algorithm.
The next morning, while brushing my teeth, I thought about the movie again. I stopped and asked myself, “Why did you hate that movie so much?”
It’s a romantic comedy, for goodness sake, I thought. If there’s any genre I enjoy more than thrillers, it’s Romcom and Action Romcom. But here we have Bridget Jones in all her goofiness. After celebrating her 43rd birthday with wrinkles to prove it, she goes to a Glastonbury-like music festival where she has unprotected sex with a stranger. We later find out he’s tech billionaire Jack Qwant.
A week later, she meets up, for a second time, with her former boyfriend, Human Rights barrister Mark Darcy, at a baby christening. The first time they saw each other, after a hiatus, was at the funeral of Bridget’s former lover and Mark’s nemesis, Daniel Cleaver, at the christening. Both are serving as godparents, and it seems to reignite their old feelings. Later, they find themselves in bed after Mark reveals he’s getting a divorce. They have sex, but the morning after, Bridget decides she doesn’t want to continue the dance; the two have been dancing for 13 years.
In an unexpected twist, the dance becomes a Do-Si-Do country hoedown for three, as Bridget finds herself pregnant. She doesn’t know whether the father is Jack or Mark.
By the time we reach this point in the film, I’m angry with her and everyone affiliated with this plot. In fact, I targeted my anger on white women. Yep, lovable Bridget Jones became #everywhitewomen, and Helen Reddy was singing the anthem.
No, not the Chaka Khan anthem. #everywhitewomen, you don’t get Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston to sing your song.
Then as I’m seething, I realized my anger arose from jealousy.
I noticed there’s not one black woman in this flick. And the black women’s absence becomes conspicuous and an ugly reminder that an unwed black woman who doesn’t know who fathered her baby is an ugly societal meme.
Black woman’s absence is a reminder that “It’s a white thing,” and a Black woman just wouldn’t understand.
Because as a Black woman, I’m not allowed to be frail, clumsy, forgetful, or even inept. As a Black woman, I must be twice as strong, twice as smart, and I’m expected to shoulder the world’s problems with grace.
But, in the immortal words of Elaine Benes:
Alright, alright, look, I don’t have grace. I don’t want grace… I don’t even say grace, OK?
Then I took a breath.
When I saw Bridget’s two baby-daddies carry her through the streets because she could no longer walk due to labor, I got mad at my whiter-than-white ex-husband. Hindsight had me thinking he married me because he thought I was a strong black woman. When he found out I only played one in music videos, it frustrated him. He said,
“You don’t know how to struggle!”
I wondered, why should I? Is “struggle” a dance I should know? Or did he believe struggle-mode is the standard for every black woman?
Even though Bridget Jones exists in the mind of the writer watching this movie. I wondered how this imperfect specimen of a woman deserved the love of a high-profile publisher, barrister, and tech billionaire. Were these men so emotionally weak they needed a woman who appeared to be dumb enough to lock her belongings in an ATM alcove? Especially since she knew she couldn’t retrieve them because only minutes before, the ATM confiscated her access card!
Why is it that this type of woman attracts the most dashing men, I wondered? Men, some black women call, “Captain-Save-a-H*s!
Then Mark’s montage memories of Bridget rolled. And I finally understood.
These men weren’t weak. They just enjoyed being around and caring for Bridget because she forgave herself for her shortcomings. Bridget knew she was far from perfect, but in her quest to be one of those “perfect women,” she forgave herself.
Short of the funeral, christening, and wedding, there’s not much talk of religion, but Bridget lives as if she’s covered by grace.
And she affords all who come into her world to forgive themselves their transgressions, too.
Is so powerful, it is in the top 1% of lookups on Merriam-Webster.
The word denotes divine assistance, approval, favor, privilege; a disposition of or to act in the instance of kindness, forgiveness, clemency; beauty, charm, ease, and suppleness; a short prayer giving thanks; a melodic note, three goddess sisters (plural); a sense of propriety or right, quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful.
My visceral reaction had nothing to do with the movie, but it spoke volumes of my perspective. Like Elaine, I saw grace and ran the other way. Learning to love and be easy with yourself is rarely taught or implied.
Instead, some of us are taught the way to achieve acceptance is through perfection.
The further away from the ideal we get, the sadder we get. Sometimes that sadness turns into anger. For some, it can be depression and guilt.
Yet, there’s a tool available to all of us when we fail miserably at being perfect.
Grace isn’t something bestowed in a sense; it’s only for the select few. When you look at the definition, it’s easy to see grace is something we all can choose, accept, and share.
I’m glad I gave “Bridget Jones’s Baby” 3 stars. I might go back and give it 4. It’s not often a silly little movie that can give birth to a brand-new outlook.
Source: Grace / Merriam-Webster
Thank you for reading!