Bridget Jones’s Diary, Hero, Summertime: films on TV today

Renee Zellwegger in big white pants, Jet Li in a blur of movement, and Katharine Hepburn lovelorn in Venice: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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Bridget Jones’s Diary ★★★★
9.00-11.00pm ITV2 

What could be a more enjoyable way to start the week than this romantic comedy about Bridget’s struggles against increasing weight, alcohol and cigarette addiction, and the anxieties of being a thirty-something singleton? Helen Fielding’s novel is brought most satisfyingly to the screen by director Sharon Maguire, writers Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis, and particularly Renée Zellweger as Bridget. Do you recall the fuss when this Texan was cast instead of a British actress? I said at the time that she’d be fine and so she is. The men in her life are her boss Hugh Grant and her true love Colin Firth. Grant makes an excellent cad, a role he should play more often, while Firth, as Darcy, is as good here as he was under the same name in Pride and Prejudice, though minus the wet shirt. It’s touching, very funny and, spoiler though this may be, has the desired happy ending.


Hero ★★★★★

6.55-8.50pm Film4 

Warrior Jet Li’s tale of victory may have an ulterior political motive in Raise the Red Lantern director Zhang Yimou’s ravishing martial arts movie. The sets and costumes are works of art, while the fight scenes are as much ballet as battle.    


The Hot Potato ★★★

7.05-9.00pm Movie Mix 

Deliberately old-school caper movie set in the 1960s and with a chunk of “hot” uranium powering the hi-jinks. Ray Winstone as a scrap metal dealer heads an eclectic cast of seasoned pros.   


Summertime ★★★★

7.50-9.45pm Talking Pictures TV 

The bridge between David Lean’s black-and-white British work and his later, international Technicolor epics sees a brilliantly cast Katharine Hepburn as a reserved woman falling for an Italian in ravishingly photographed Venice.  


The Gate ★★★
9.00-10.45pm Horror Channel 

A portal to hell is opened in an everyday back garden in this impressive looking horror served up with so much verve that the occasional plothole shouldn’t ruin enjoyment.  


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