Arts and Entertainment

There’s a bit in the middle of Mad About the Boy when the agent for Bridget’s screenplay – a modern interpretation of Hedda Gabler set in Queen’s Park – sends her a strange email. “We have a couple of responses on your script,” he writes. “They are passing. The themes are fascinating but they’re wanting more of a romcom feel. I’ll keep trying.” It could be a coincidence, but by this point it reads like a coded SOS from the author. The book is at its best when it is a poignant comic novel about a 51-year-old woman struggling to bring up children after the sudden death of her husband. It is hit-and-miss when it’s about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who struggles with all the TV remotes and counts nits instead of Chardonnays. But on occasion it becomes a parody of a Richard Curtis film, or even worse an American sitcom, and that of course is v v bad.

In Search of a Midnight Kiss, 15

Lonely hearts meet up and make magic

The Waiting Room (15)

The Waiting Room is a British indie film starring Anne-Marie Duff as a single mum who's having a fling with her married next-door neighbour, Rupert Graves. Her head is turned by Ralf Little, a man she meets briefly in the waiting room of a local railway station, but she doesn't know anything about him.

Made of Honour, (12A)

Patrick Dempsey is a rich, irresponsible womaniser, Michelle Monaghan the platonic best friend who's the only woman to resist his charm: then she falls in love with another man, and if you don't know where all this is leading I can only assume you've not actually seen a film before, and this probably isn't the best place to start.

Take It From Me: Claudia Winkleman

'The cinema is win-win. No chat, no cooking. Just nachos and a Solero in a dark room with the man you love'

27 Dresses (12A)

Gloss, corn, cliché – what more do you want from a wedding?

The Heartbreak Kid (15)

Dan in Real Life (PG)

Dan (Steve Carell) is a widowed father who is on a family holiday at his parents' New England beach house when he meets his dream woman (Juliette Binoche), only to learn that she's his brother's new girlfriend. Closer to real life than most romantic comedies, 'Dan in Real Life' is a gentle indie charmer built around Carell's touchingly underplayed discomfort. But be warned: the film gets smothered in hugging, crying and an all-American cosiness before the end.

Bride Wars (PG)

A chick flick of such unutterable vileness that by the end you may feel suicidal, or perhaps just homicidal.

Timeless or tedious? 'Pride and Prejudice may not address the social problems of the time but it is as relevant now as the day it was written'

As Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy reappear in yet another dramatisation, we ask if Jane Austen's classic really is the most perfect English novel - or just a 19th-century Mills & Boon

In a Good Light by Clare Chambers

A happy childhood's a bad start in life - you never get over it

Critics' Awards 1999 - Film: Where have all the adults gone?

It's only sensible to worry for the health of an art form which hasn't produced a single masterpiece all year. But one thing makes me confident that better days are round the corner. The majority of this year's best cinema has been the work of debutantes or near-debutantes. The Blair Witch Project, the glorious Festen, Rushmore, High Art, and the little-seen Australian film Praise were all first features, or thereabouts.

Book review: Love and death in the war of the roses

The Rose Grower by Michelle de Kretser Chatto pounds 10

Letter: Hitch framed

NOBODY DESCRIBES the imagery of cinema more incisively than Gilbert Adair and nobody has created images of greater brilliance than Alfred Hitchcock. What a shame, therefore, that Adair's masterly review of Strangers on a Train (Culture, 15 August) should be accompanied by a clumsily posed publicity still when the film itself is, as he suggests, a treasure trove of unforgettable frames.
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'