Bridget Jones’s Most Important Lesson About Life & Love (+ What It Means For Mad About The Boy)

Bridget Jones has been an iconic rom-com heroine for over two decades, a hilarious and uplifting champion for those of us who just can’t quite seem to get our lives together. Her imperfections were always what made her so relatable, but what makes her story particularly unique is that it continues on – we get to see what happens after her ‘happily ever after.’ And what Bridget finds isn’t the perfect world she had always dreamed of, but more real life. Her own hang ups and issues are still there, and didn’t just disappear after those credits rolled the first time. Now a fourth installment of the series has been announced, which means we’ll get to see Bridget taking on a whole new stage of life, in a way that only Bridget can.

So let’s take a deeper look at the reasons why Bridget is still so relatable even all of these years later and how getting to see her continue living her life after her multiple ‘happily ever afters’ provides such an important lesson for all of us. Plus, we’ll unpack what we can expect from the new film (and why one very important person won’t be in it.)

(Un)fortunately Still Relatable

Most rom-com heroines, especially in the 90s and early 2000s era, were aspirational. They were beautiful, put together (if ever so slightly Hollywood-frazzled), and were the kind of woman you could dream about wanting to be. Bridget didn’t totally break this mold – she is played by a beautiful Hollywood actress, after all – but she did feel fresh for how totally chaotic she was. Her missteps weren’t just quirky little oopsies, but major flubs that invited second hand embarrassment. But this was what made her so relatable – while most of us don’t wake up looking like we’re in a shampoo commercial, we definitely have slipped up and said something silly in an important conversation or totally misread the dress code on a party invite. She was an externalization of all of the things we try to hide about ourselves – our bad habits, bad choices, bad self-image. But no matter how down she got, she was never going to give up on getting what she wanted (just as soon as she figured out what exactly that really was.) In this way, she helped us learn to accept our own “failures” and see them as powerful opportunities for growth.

Because society has changed so much since the first Bridget Jones movie dropped in 2001, it can be easy to think that her story would feel outdated. (And some parts of it do feel very ‘of it’s time’, like the constant treatment of her perfectly average weight and if anything thin body as if she’s the size of an actual whale.)

“I was going to die fat and alone and be found 3 weeks later, half-eaten by wild dogs.”

But, if we look around, we’ll find that things haven’t actually changed quite as much as we might have hoped. Certainly we’ve seen a wonderful wave of body positivity, especially in the past ten years, but it hasn’t necessarily led to the kind of universal acceptance of bodies of all sizes that we might have hoped for.

“Scary stomach-holding-in panties. Very popular with grannies the world over.”

As Michelle Santiago Cortés wrote for The Cut, this was “a result of it being coopted by brands eager to capitalize on it but unwilling to meaningfully expand their sizing. The case of Miu Miu’s miniskirt is a perfect example: While Paloma Elsesser wore it on the cover of i-D, the brand does not actually offer the skirt in her size and had to make one custom for the shoot.” Ads are still filled with incredibly thin models, and now we also have multiple social media feeds at our fingertips feeding us these kinds of images 24/7. And the fad diets of Bridget’s era have been replaced with new so-called ‘fast fixes’ like Ozempic. While the way we talk about it might have changed, the societal standards Bridget struggled with haven’t really gone away.

In addition to the external pressures that have unfortunately stuck around, most of Bridget’s internal stressors also continue to be intimately relatable. One of Bridget’s biggest problems is that she often blocks her own success due to her insecurity, something we can all connect to on some level. She often looks for quick fixes instead of taking time to figure out the deeper root of her issues and come up with a solution.

“Will lodge myself into frenzied keep fit regimes to reduce thigh circumference and fit into teenage skinny jeans.”

She hyper focuses on whatever new thing catches her attention that she thinks will finally be the thing to “fix” her – new men, random “imperfections” she needs to erase or hide away, a new skill she thinks will make her more interesting. For Bridget, these ideas came in the form of “self-help” books instead of a TikTok feed. From small things, like aiming more for the aesthetic of being a cook instead of actually being a good cook to larger issues like running headfirst into situationships that aren’t good for her it’s clear that many of the problems Bridget faced haven’t gone away, but instead have just updated themselves for our modern era. And this is why Bridget’s story not stopping on that first ‘happy ending’ and instead continuing on in the way our lives actually do, is so important.

After The Happily Ever Afters

No matter how many obstacles she faces, or how much pushback she seems to get from the world, Bridget never truly lets her spirit get crushed.

“Alright, tiny make up mistake, but I always have wit and conversation to fall back on.”

And this is particularly important for her and us because her story extends beyond the ‘happily ever afters’ that usually close out the arcs of our favorite heroines. Normally getting the guy and the Hollywood-romantic kiss is the end for good – we don’t get to see what happens after because that would be more real life, and real life gets messy. Because the reality is, finding ‘the one’ isn’t a cure-all for life’s problems.

“At last life is finally on track. Bridget Jones: fiancé, wife, mother.”

Bridget, of course, finds this out the hard way. She had completely bought into the romantic idea of ‘true love’ peddled by films where you find the right guy and ta-da, your life is perfect now! But love was never Bridget’s real problem – she had friends and family who loved her, and plenty of guys who were interested. Her biggest problem was her lack of love for herself. Someone else loving us and telling us we’re perfect won’t mend our internalized issues, no matter how many movies try to tell us it will. Bridget gains self confidence though realizing that she doesn’t need to change to be loved, but old habits die hard. In every film, it’s almost like she’s starting back at the bottom of the hill, having to re-learn yet again that she is in fact very worthy of love and happiness just the way she is. It would be great if life was like a movie, and after you had one epiphany moment you could just completely get your life together and change your mindset and ride off into the sunset.

“I like you very much. Just as you are.”

But reality is often a lot more like what Bridget goes through, having to learn the same lesson a few times for it to really stick – but while also picking up important new self-knowledge all along the way.

“I could always take consolation in my job as top news producer.”

The continuation of Bridget’s story after all of those happy endings is also important because it lets us get a more realistic look at the so-called “perfect guy.” While Mark Darcy is dashing and handsome and literally sweeps Bridget off of her feet, as their story continues we see that he’s got his own problems, too. True love didn’t “fix” him, either – he’s still distant and uncommunicative, more focused on work than anything else. Rom-coms, especially of Bridget’s era, often featured a leading man with a hard outer shell that the heroine had to crack to find the real, sweet guy underneath. And it was always implied that he just stayed that open and loving forever – but with Mark we see how that’s likely not the case. In the same way Bridget fell back into many of her own destructive patterns, so too did Mark. And so they both have to work on themselves and their willingness to be open to love. Through their struggles, we get to see a shred of truth about real love: it takes work and commitment, it isn’t just something that happens after a single spark.

“I pronounce you, finally, husband and wife.”

But, as it turns out, there’s still more after that ‘happily ever after’ too…

Mad About The Boy

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, the third book in the Bridget Jones series and on which the upcoming film will be based, was released back in 2013 and featured a twist that shocked fans. (Spoilers ahead for the book and the upcoming film – use the chapters to skip ahead if you want to avoid them!)

At the end of Bridget Jones’s Baby, it seemed like Bridget finally had pretty much everything she had ever wanted. Sure, she had to quit her job (which she was very good at!) but it was for a good reason.

“But I would rather be old-fashioned and unemployed than part of a show that celebrates the inane.”

She got the baby, and the wedding, and Mark Darcy. So imagine fans’ surprise when they picked up the next book in the series to find out that Mark had died in the time between the second and third book, killed by a landmine while working in Sudan. So instead of the story of Bridget and Mark finally getting their happily ever after, it is instead the story of Bridget figuring out how to navigate the world as a single mother and widow.

At first one might think, how can they have a rom-com without that romance? We spent three whole movies waiting for them to truly be together, and now we’ll never get it? But the truth is, Bridget’s story was never really about her romance with Mark Darcy – even when they were together the story was more about her functioning in his absence.

“In the end I always felt that you were never there and I was mostly alone.”

Every film was about Bridget going out into the world and learning new things about herself and learning to love herself more as their relationship waxed and waned.

“Sometimes it feels scary being on my own at 43, but you and I have been here once before.”

So a story that follows how Bridget deals with this, the greatest, most permanent absence of a loved one, is actually very much in line with the heart of the entire series. And as the timeline is several years after his death, it isn’t just about her sadness but also about her finding joy and love again. Bridget’s life never goes exactly how she imagined it, but watching her march on into her future anyways is what makes her story so uplifting. Neither life nor Bridget will ever be perfect, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.


It will be interesting to see Bridget in yet another new phase of life, learning new things about herself and finding new avenues for joy, love, and success. No matter how challenging life gets, Bridget always finds a way to carry on (after a bit of wallowing…)

“Am enjoying a relationship with two men simultaneously: the first is called Ben, the other, Jerry.”

The most important takeaway of her entire story is that you just have to keep living and discovering yourself anew as your life and the world changes and grows. There is no happy ending, just the happy life you work to build for yourself day after day.

“You’ve turned disasters into triumphs with your sheer, joyful, indefatigable, infectious lust for life.”