Brethren, we are gathered here today to review a movie series that just broke the ratings on Netflix. The great BRIDGERTON. So why in the history of my writing, am I giving an exclusive review to a film, yet I do not watch as much TV?
NO! It has nothing to do with the thirst trap that is the Duke of Hastings, he is quite the looker, just not my type: Neither is it the passionate and quite a generous number of sex scenes: then again, it could be my loyal subscription to the BBW category. First things first, I love romance; books and movies alike. This could be an over compensation for the lack of it in my real life but who knows? The subtle art of addressing present socio-economic ideas in a movie dating back to the early 1800s; was just IT for me.
Those aware of the novel series by Julia Quinn have admitted to the movie being better than the book. I must say once again, that this is a first. Never in the history of movies based on books, was the movie ever better. See, I could run out a toilet paper roll, just listing reasons this particular movie was simply magnificent.
Music: Please…can we all just step back for a whole minute and be quiet; to pay tribute to the genius that put the music together. Did you notice the classical music all through the series were instrumental covers of some of the most recent pop songs? Just to mention a few Girls Like You by Maroon 5, Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift, Thank You, Next by Ariana Grande, In My Blood by Shawn Mendes, Bad Guy by Billie Eilish …and that is just a drop in the ocean. Yes even Billie, as depressing as she can get, got snuck up in here, all so masterly. The only other time I was ever this excited about anything, is when I discovered Bobby McFerrin.
The Plot: Quite basic if you ask me. Extremely predictable, just the way I like it. If there are too many plot twists and cliffhangers, my heart and brain refuse to fathom such emotional turmoil. I genuinely only enjoy sitcoms and Christmas movies. Go ahead, judge me…
While at it, let’s get to the very strong socio-economic aspects of modern life, this film subtly puts across.
Race and Colourism
Clearly no one has wanted to mention this, but I am sure, particularly for black people, something must have lingered at the back of your head all through. The movie is set in 1813 in London during the Social Season. This means, the characters are all members of the Social Elite society that during this season held parties and events.
Just a little background for context. You see, at the time, the population of black people in the whole of England was estimated at 30,000. Even so, slaves were being bred, sold and reimported following the abolishment in the British Empire of Trading and capturing slaves. This goes to tell you, blacks were very few and close knit. There is possibly no way, they would have belonged to any social class, let alone The Elite.
Bridgeton casts black characters in normal light as belonging to this Social class. The Queen herself is black. The beauty in this, is that there is no mention of colour. So say a 5 year old watching this, wouldn’t be aware of London itself being dominantly white, let alone be able to tell black from white. They also would not be able to pick beauty by virtue of skin colour because in this film, it is depicted as simply just different shades. Marina Thompson literally wears her natural hair with curls all through. It is at no point styled to create a different impression . Are you with me on how powerful and subtle these hints are?
This argument could go both ways; one could take offense that history is being scrambled up when there are communities that endured unfairness. The side I am picking, is the positivity of inclusivity in production, so much so, these common differences are not obvious to an innocent eye as we look into unlearning hate.
On the surface, it is quite the typical society we were all born into. A man’s world! The men are left to do as they please; as women are groomed to stay pure and perfect for their husbands right from birth. Women who have already been intimate with men are considered to have lost their honour and are cast to eternal shame and ridicule. When Marina was found to be pregnant yet she had not been married, her pregnancy was referred to as a condition. Not with child, not pregnant, not expectant, just that she has a condition. LoL!
Despite this, we realize women are depicted quite strongly in this series. Everyone’s sweetheart Daphne, picked her own husband. Yes, she was solving a problem whilst maintaining her dignity, but she picked the man she wanted.
The most powerful character in the whole season is a writer. Let me bask in that for a minute… Now, Lady Whistledown is omnipresent and all-knowing, and isn’t that why we fear God? Nothing happens in town she is not aware of… Her word, though running a modern day tabloid, is as good as truth. The power lies in her being a ghost writer. She sees you but you cannot see her. Marvelous!
Lady Danburry takes it, with her firm values and strong will. She mentors and brings up Simon into a confident man who not only commands space but respect too: Taking up the job from Simon’s father who was nothing short of a pathetic inhumane excuse of a man. She also hosts a party for married women where they can freely talk dirt about their husbands and engage in all things unacceptable for women. I want to be that aunty.
We realize later that the seamstress Genevieve, is not of French descent. She came into town, faked it until she made it as the go to dress marker for these wealthy people. Considering how much the Featheringtons owed her, girl is securing a big bag.
Sienna Rosso is an opera singer who fell in-love with a Bridgerton. I have always considered music revolutionary and you can tell she is considered not worthy of a decent man. Entertainment has always been thought to be propelled by immorality. I find her to be the most sexually liberated woman in the entire series. Given the times, that is some Boss move.
Now Lady Violet Bridgerton is a widow raising strong personalities. She reminds me of our mothers; who are now trying to grasp the individuality of all their kids, evolution of choice and voice for kids, when all they’ve ever known was the way things have always been done traditionally. She particularly has a rebel, Eloise. She hates the whole idea of women being trophies, she hates the dresses, she sneaks out to smoke cigarettes’ and she is not looking forward to marriage and kids at all.
Traumas and Healing
A lot of humans, more so Africans, refuse to acknowledge that decisions we make and personalities we posses as grown ups, are heavily influenced by experiences we had as children or teenagers. We see the Duke of Hastings; Simon holds his father in so much contempt, he promises to punish him even in his death. His father cast him out as a child and thought him to be the greatest disgrace. The Duke swore to never have children, only so the lineage would end with him. This might sound okay, and just between him and his father. What becomes troublesome, is that this decision affects third parties. Holding on to this promise also blurs his healing process; that is important for him to make a good husband and father. It is also hilarious that the only contraceptive they had was pull out. LoL! Timing had to be impeccable.
Daphne married to the Duke, now begins to learn so much all at ago. Growing up, most things were a taboo to women. She does not know the first thin about sex, self pleasure, how to get pregnant. All her life, she has been required to do and so she does. In marriage, up until the very last minute, she is unable to confidently profess her love for her husband. In modern day, shoot your shot.
Expose your kids to everything and communicate clearly your values despite everything going on around them. They’d rather learn from you than experiment it behind your back.
Status Breeding Classism
The entire existence of each family was dedicated to keeping the family name clean. Lord Featherington kept all his dirty deals well under wraps. Clearly gambling has been a problem for centuries on.
You witness a lot of classism too in the movie. I think this exists to date and nothing much can be done about it. You mostly end up with people within your social circle. That is influenced strongly by your economic status. So the romance in this film is not between the common rich girl, poor boy or vice versa. Families of both the male and female are in good standing and quite affluent.
Lady Portia did her best to keep Marina’s pregnancy a secret and could not tell a soul that their family was broke from her husband’s gambling problem. That would mean tarnishing the Featherington name; and she just would not let it happen.
Okay, Let’s Wrap It Up…
The most iconic technique for me was incorporation of all these modern cases in an enactment of a book set in 1813-1827. I m not sure if anyone else understands how excited I am for all these hints thrown all over the movie.
British English is also extremely lovely to the ear. Reminding you of phrases you only used when looking through ‘Student’s Companion’.
It was simply perfection. It had a lovely ending. I am not planning to watch any more episodes or new seasons. I choose where my movies end, and most of the time, a happy ending is my cue.