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on 29 August 2011
As a fan of Stephen Fry, Evelyn Waugh and many of the actors involved in this film, I was so confident that I would like it that I purchased the DVD. What a mistake that was!

While the novel 'Vile Bodies' may satirise the young idle rich and their vacuous lifestyles - and while Stephen Fry may have aimed for the same effect in his film - I found 'Bright Young Things' actually painful to watch. About a third of a way in, I realised that I was wishing each and every character a grisly and humiliating death - possibly because it seemed that Fry was altogether too affectionate in his depiction of these nauseating upper class twits.

I realise that that is the actual POINT of the film (!), and that the fortunes of the characters change with WWII etc., but I couldn't stick with it to the end. Perhaps the film turns into a masterpiece by then, in which case I will owe the filmmaker an apology and probably shouldn't be reviewing it at all. And to be fair, I chucked in an extra star for the accuracy with which the actors were able to convey the chinless classes. The cinematography was nice too. But apart from that... no.

I feel slightly mean giving the film two stars, as the direction, acting etc. were perfectly OK - but it just struck me as irritating in the extreme.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 November 2015
Bright Young Things is a 2003 British drama written and directed by the great Stephen Fry. It is based on the 1930 novel ‘Vile Bodies’ by Evelyn Waugh and the film provides a satirical story about young and carefree London aristocrats and bohemians in the late 1920’s through to the early 1940’s.

The film has a superb cast and is on the whole a feast for the eyes. It captures the colour, dazzle and decadence of the period well. The visual richness is reminiscent of the deep colours and glitter used in the film Cabaret.

The story is set in the 1920’s, and cleverly is very relevant today as it deals with the mores of our time, the quest for celebrity, decadence and often style over substance.

The film satirises the young idle rich of the aristocracy and their vacuous lifestyles. We are introduced to a young and decadent crowd, whose lives are dedicated to endless wild parties, alcohol, cocaine and the latest gossip reported by newspaper columnists.

Among our cast is the eccentric Agatha Runcible, whose wild ways eventually lead her to being committed to a very grim mental institution, while another character, Miles is forced to flee the country to avoid prosecution for his homosexuality; and we follow their lives and the dramatic changes that occur with WWII.

This film has not been made just for the sake of the lifestyle, costumes, great houses and vintage cars. The film plunges in, capturing the hedonistic madness of the era in a swirl of colours and jolting close-ups. The film has sweetness and tenderness but it demonstrates that a life of wealth and great privilege is no panacea for happiness. It's a very dark story.
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VINE VOICEon 22 February 2005
This film has had an awful lot of bad press over the past year and I have to say it doesn't deserver any of it! I'm someone who hasn't read the book and so I watched this film, having no idea of what to expect and I loved it.
The plot is good and believable, the scenery is fantasic and Stephen Fry defiatly has talent as a director. His commentary over the film is a fasinating insight into the book and his ideas for the film. The only annoyance I had with it is that near the end the timeline goes too fast and the plot doesn't carry very well, however this is outweighed by the fantasic acting by the young cast who make totally convincing young aristocrats. I recomend this film for someone who likes the 20s/30s era and wants an enjoyable film to watch, I just wish they added more extras to the DVD!
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on 15 January 2016
This is a great film with an excellent cast. If you like Evelyn Waugh's books and enjoy things which are set in the 1920s, you are highly likely to enjoy his work (originally published as Vile Bodies) when it becomes a film. Stephen Fry directs (his debut in a directorial role) in a way which keeps the film hurtling along at a great pace. It is hard to see why the film didn't receive more critical acclaim at the time it was released, but if you've not yet seen it, get hold of a copy and you are in for a sparkling viewing, albeit actually liking the characters may not be not the agenda.

Open a bottle of wine and take this tongue in cheek nonsense in the spirit Stephen Fry intended!
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on 29 April 2009
I just stumbled upon this film since I regularly look for works of Stephen Fry. What a pleasent surprise this film was. Based on the novella of Evelyn Waugh: "Vile young bodies" this film is a little masterpiece. Excellent acting, brilliant directing, absolutely phantastic set design and wardrobe. The film tells the stories of some young people in the mid-twenties of the last century, who just want to party and score drugs. One by one, they fall apart, go crazy or die and then WW2 starts and sets everything right. Congratulations Mr. Fry, I really appreciated that film. Do more!!!
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on 30 August 2014
One of the few films I've seen which hasn't been a disappointment when compared to a much-loved book. I appreciated Vile Bodies and Bright Young Things in different ways but thought that the film was a fantastic adaptation of the book, clearly devised by someone who loves the book and is able to translate it well to the screen.
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on 17 August 2013
This film, based upon Evelyn Waugh's book 'Vile Bodies', is the first film that Stephen Fry directed. An excellent cast of talented actors make it a delight to watch. Despite the era, the storyline bears some similarities to today....youth and their activities horrifying the older generation. The arrival of the 1914 - 1918 war has a huge impact upon the 'Bright Young Things' of the title and their everyday lives and expectations.
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on 10 December 2009
This attempt to film "Vile Bodies" falls so far short of the novel in so may ways that it would be tiresome to list them. However, the messy direction and episodic nature of the film must be mentioned. The fact that an impressive cast list has been assembled for such a disorganised production simply makes the point that poor direction and a bad film script can render any production values worthless. Having struggled against the boredom of watching "Bright Young Things" I was glad to give the DVD away. A recent TV documentary dealt with the same theme with comparative brilliance.
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on 16 February 2006
Stephen Fry, the director of this film, has many talents, not least as a comedian and wit and in my view he has made a thoroughly good job of this film. It has a sparkle and pace to it and some wonderful performances from a young and enthusiastic group of actors. (Particularly good is Fenella Woolgar as Agatha Runcible but everyone is at least good in his/her role.) All that having been said I think Stephen could have chosen a better novel to adapt for his first film as director. "Vile Bodies", the novel on which it based, is a fizzy but rather empty read and even if you adapt it very well, as he has, the best you can probably hope for is a fizzy, empty film and that's more or less what you get. No fault can be attached to the direction, acting or the set design. (The sets, by the way, are sumptuous, exquisitely designed and wholly convincing). In conclusion 5 stars for effort and visual appeal but possibly three for the overall film.
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on 23 June 2013
Full of famous faeces and a lesson in how to throw a great party, this film has some wonderful moments.
For young at heart types with a love of modern literature, pathos and revelry combined perfectly.
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