Writing changes everything. So many things, in fact, I’m realizing as I type this, I’ve just come up with a very long list of blog content for the foreseeable future on this very subject. Yay me.
Example: Writing has changed the way I watch movies. Before writing, I could watch a film and empathize, identify, or romanticize the characters. Now, I watch and then pick apart their personalities.
Recently, like three days ago, I watched Bridget Jones’s Diary for the first time ever. What? Sacrilige you say? I agree. How could I not have seen this film by now? Me, an Austen enthusiast who grew up on PBS and BBC TV. I’m a romance writer, for crying out loud, who’s been biding my time until Downton Abbey comes back on. I’ve seen everything Colin Firth and Hugh Grant have been in multiple times, or so I thought. And how, in the name of all that is holy, did I manage to miss a film where Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are fighting over the same woman? Or how is it possible with the many, many, many times I’ve drooled over Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, did I miss him staring as another Mr. Darcy?
Good God. I’m embarrassed. But as unbelievable as it may seem, the above is true. Two nights ago, I watched Bridget Jones’s Diary for the first time, and last night I watched the sequel. Loved the first film, the second was not fantastic, but saved by the aforementioned English hotties and an incredibly funny stay in a Thai prison for Bridget.
The first film was enjoyable; an average woman, full of insecurities, who becomes the focus of two of the yummiest bachelors in England. Love. She glows with sexy confidence. Love. They fight over her. Love. Very believable character.
The second incarnation of Bridget I found lacking. Not in eye candy, as the delicious Hugh and Colin were there again, fighting it out, Hugh a little tanner than the last film. However, Bridget seemed a little too insecure for me in this sequel. I wanted to shout at her to get over it. She had such confidence in the first film, despite her insecurities. The second film played on those insecurities way too much, in my opinion. The exception is the one time she drops the sheet so Mr. Darcy can admire her wobbly bits. That’s the sexy confidence from the first film I wanted, but didn’t get.
I’m not worried about spoilers as I’m sure most of you readers have seen the films, unlike me who somehow missed them over the last fourteen years. But I was surprised how annoying Bridget was in the second film. I wanted more of a self-worth/confidence awakening. Something. Where was her journey?
Maybe things have changed since 2001. Women, I think, are looking for heroines that are relatable and inspiring. The films were relatable, but aside from how Hugh and Colin can inspire fantasies, the heroine of the second film was annoying. I wanted her to pull up her big-girl panties and get a life already. What’s attractive about feeling like you’re not worth your lover? In the beginning, it’s fine. It’s real. But there needed to be some sort of change. By the end of the second film, I didn’t really see her character grow at all.
With writing and learning how to develop my characters, I’ve become a lot more critical of these things. There is good and bad in everyone. Strong and weak. Confidence and insecurity. The basic balance in the world can be evidenced by how complex real people are. This is something I’m now highly aware of as I watch movies and read other author’s work. Character development is one of my top priorities.
Has it ruined movies for me? Certainly not. But now I ponder the strengths and weaknesses of characters. What’s their motivation? What’s their backstory? What’s their journey?
What would I have done differently in the second film? More sexy-confident wench; less self-depreciating doormat. I wanted to see Bridget realize her worth and stop feeling like her wobbly bits made her unworthy of Mr. Darcy. He obviously loved them and her.
Jennifer Senhaji was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and is married with two children. If she’s not singing along at the top of her lungs to whatever is playing on the radio, you can find her making music playlists at home on her laptop. She works full time and splits her spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. Other than English, Jennifer speaks Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. She loves to travel, but doesn’t do enough of it and will weave places she has gone or wants to go into her stories. Reading has been a passion for most of her life and she loves to write. She calls herself Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author because she loves the sweet nuances of new love, but also is a bit of a voyeur and wants to be in the bedroom when the characters finally come together. You can find Jennifer and all her book links and social media links on her website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com
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