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on 8 September 2010
I do mind, but perhaps not "terribly," that Waugh's satyrical, absurd masterpiece has been reduced to an entertaining, engaging, but not at all deep or thought-provoking flick. The cast is superb, especially James McAvoy as the neurotic Early of Balcairn whose "swan song" comes across with a keen balance between pathos, irony, and the ridiculous. Discovering Fry, director and screenwriter, in the small but in a way crucial role of the limousine chaffeur, is a neat surprise which puts a tiny twist on the viewer's experience. Fenella Woolgar's Agatha Runcible is perhaps a little weak and vague at times, but she remains the loveable and tragically victimized bright young thing of the novel. Julia McKenzie's Lottie Crump is a delight - but that's one comical character which would be hard to spoil.

The rest of the cast is equally brilliant, and the movie, on the whole, is a feast for the eyes of any fan of the British cinema. However, it is not a feast for the intellect of any fan of Waugh. Perhaps it's just as well - Waugh should be enjoyed through the page, not the screen - and I wouldn't mind if the changes made to the original storyline were not so terribly out of tune with it. But they are. Especially the ending, dripping with syrupy sentiment as sticky as the wax of the milliard candles wasted on that scene, is bound to annoy anyone who has read and loved "Vile Bodies." A little less of burlesque and sentimentality, a little less of P. G. Wodehouse and a little more of Evelyn Waugh, and this could have been a brilliant adaptation.
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on 31 March 2017
What a great cast. Great costumes. Great settings. Stupid plot.
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on 5 April 2017
Stephen Fry should do more directing.
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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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on 5 March 2009
I have to admit, I did buy this ONLY because James McAvoy is in it (and he is, as always, absolutely marvellous in it), although i have always admired Stephen Fry and expected this to be excellent. I was not disappointed. This is a great film for many reasons: the casting is spot on, the acting is superb (unsurprising, since there are so many excellent actors in it - Bill Paterson, Simon Callow, David Tennant, Emily Mortimer, Stephen Campbell Moore, Harriet Walter, Michael Sheen, to name but a few), the photography is beautiful, the screenplay dazzling, with many lines lifted directly from Vile Bodies, the Evelyn Waugh masterpiece it is based on, which is by no means a criticism - watch out for the line from James about wild animals! If you like period/wartime comedy/drama you will love this. The only small negative point is that the end is a bit of an anticlimax - but then i didnt want it to end....
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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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HALL OF FAMEon 3 August 2007
This is a stylish, satirical and thoughtful movie about people not worth thinking too much about. We're in London in the Thirties. The wealthy, bored young spawn of the upper crust flit from party to party, keeping the dawn at bay and amusing each other with their brittleness and wit. We're in the middle of high society, "that uneasy alliance of bright young things and old survivors."

Adam Fenwick-Symes (Stephen Campbell Moore) wants to be a writer, hasn't a penny, but whose friends are all among the "things." He loves Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer), a young woman who would rather be bored and rich than bored and poor. (She finally marries a very boring, aristocratic young man, Ginger Littlejohn, who is rich. "Oh, darling," she says to Adam, "if only you were as rich as Ginger...or even half as rich.")

Throughout the movie Adam finds himself in situations where he comes close to money and loses it, whether it's gambling in a hotel which has wonderfully loose morals to working as Mr. Chatterbox, a gossip columnist for a press lord. His friends are fun and stylish, but also shallow, condescending and oblivious to any feelings except their own. "You bloody people," one person finally says to them, "Who the bloody hell do you think you are?" As the Thirties pass into the 1939 invasion of Poland and Britain's declaration war, the parties stop. Bad things happen and real life takes over. But eventually Adam and Nina find their way together, without money.

I liked this movie a lot. It has great style and dialogue, and things keep moving. It was based on Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies. The characters are superficial but after a while you get to know them. There are first-rate actors portraying these bright young things, including Michael Sheen as Miles, a wealthy young queen, and Fenella Woolgar as Agatha Runciple, a young woman without a reflective thought in her head. There are also wonderful performances by some well-known names in smaller parts: Jim Broadbent as an alcoholic colonel who shows up several times, Jim Carter as a filth-hating customs supervisor, Peter O'Toole as somewhat balmy aristocrat who isn't as eccentric as he appears, Simon Callow as the deposed king of Anatolia, and John Mills in a brief but funny bit as an old aristocrat at a party who mistakes a sniff of cocaine for a sniff of snuff.

The DVD picture and audio are first-rate.
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on 26 March 2004
Stephen Fry's directorial debut didn't cause much of a splash at the box office, and received a fairly thorough critical panning. I had no plans to see this film due to the press criticism, but when I eventually got around to it, I was very pleasantly surprised.
The film rattles along at a great pace, with fantastic characters and great acting - Stephen Campbell Moore is a great lead, and Fenella Woolgar's Agatha Runcible is one of the funniest characters I've seen in a film.
The story is set in the 20s, but deals with the mores of our age - celebrity, decadence and style over substance. The film also looks amazing - capturing the colour, dazzle and decadence of the period. The visual richness is reminiscent of the deep colours and glitter used in Cabaret.
I wouldn't be surprised if Bright Young Things got bad reviews because of Stephen Fry - maybe critics don't want 'director' added to his already bulging CV. Don't believe the hype! See the film!
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on 18 February 2011
This is a mystery to me, it really is. The adaptation of a fabulous, witty satire of an outrageous social set with a cast to die for and the direction of the wonderful Stephen Fry and yet it's so utterly boooooring, dahling! Given the glamour and outrages of the real bright young things, the on-screen party people seem rather sub-Bullingdon club rather than genuinely decadent and you find yourself yearning for Bridesheads's Anthony Blanche to appear and shake things up a bit; although Michael Sheen makes the most of his sadly limited screen time. Admittedly it is difficult to sound the right notes when you're portraying caricatures but even so most of the portrayals were simply cardboard cut-outs, especially poor David Tennant's less than one dimensional Ginger Littlejohn and Emily Mortimer who is just phenomenally irritating throughout. On the plus side, it looks great but despite the array of talent in this film including screen legend Peter O'Toole and a positive luxury of luvvies, the sets win hands down. Missed opportunity.
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on 27 August 2011
Personnaly I did not like it at all, I even could not watch it till the end. I was quite disappointed.
my opinion: this is a useless film...
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