Bright Young Things


Comedy / Drama / War

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

David Tennant Photo
David Tennant as Ginger Littlejohn
Imelda Staunton Photo
Imelda Staunton as Lady Brown
Michael Sheen Photo
Michael Sheen as Miles Maitland
James McAvoy Photo
James McAvoy as Simon Balcairn
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
975.1 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S ...
1.77 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 0 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SimonJack6 / 10

Fair picture of London's young party set but a weak adaptation and just fair film overall

"Bright Young Things" is another film that I push to rate it six stars simply because of its huge cast of prominent actors of its time. The most widely known include Peter O'Toole, Dan Aykroyd, James McAvoy, Stephen Fry, John Mills, Stockard Channing and Jim Broadbent. There are many more of the younger generation of actors at the turn of the 21st century.

The film does give a sense of the wild life and crazy times of the social scene of London during the Roaring 20s. But it fails on most points to convey the picture and commentary of its source book. That was the 1930 novel, "Vile Bodies," by Evelyn Waugh. The book was a clear scathing satire of the hedonistic attitude of the time by the young aristocratic and socialite set. And, it was completely set in the Roaring 20s, not also during the Great Depression of the 30s up until World War II.

Some other reviewers have commented on this and other deviations and shortcomings from the novel. But also, the acting and inaugural directing by Stephen Fry were much in need of improvement..

I thought it interesting that this book should find its way in the cinema so long after its publication, and in a world had that has become so far removed and much less interested in that time or the times of the past. "The Bright Young Things" was the name that the press of the day used to refer to the up and coming aristocrats and socialites who seemed to live lives around a never-ending circle of parties and wild times. It included booze, drugs and a Bohemian lifestyle in general. While the identity of members of the group was rather arbitrary, it had as many as 400 people variously thought to be among them

There was no membership per se, and some who were considered a part of the Bright Young Things would have been only in their late teens by 1930, and some others in their late 40s and even 50 or so. So it depended on who was writing about what people or group at the time.

One list on the Internet has four men who later became Prime Ministers of England, two members of the royal family, a Nazi collaborator (John Amery) who was executed as a traitor after the end of WW II, and two men who became notorious as Soviet spies. It also includes some 20 people who were or became authors and more than a dozen who became prominent actors.

The authors included Waugh himself, as well as Hilaire Belloc, Noel Coward, G. K. Chesterton, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Aldous Huxley, D. H. Lawrence, Somerset Maugham, George Orwell, P. G. Woodhouse and Virginia and Woolf. The actors include Tallulah Bankhead, Gladys Cooper, Elissa Landi, Charles Laughton, Anna Neagle, Norma Shearer, Viola Tree, Rudolph Valentino, and Paul Robeson.

Critics gave the film mixed reviews. Some of the better known media critics rated the film fair to good. But it flopped with audiences. In a quick check I couldn't find any budget information. But the main Web listing of the top 200 films for 2003 didn't even list "Bright Young Things." The 200th finished the year with just over $3 million in ticket sales So, this film probably lost a big chunk of change for its makers.

Reviewed by jotix1008 / 10

Bright cameos

Stephen Fry's film version of the Evelyn Waugh's novel is at times bright and annoying, but even if it fails at some levels, it is a welcomed movie, in that it reveals so much of the craziness in the English society of the time.

The young actors assembled for this film make it a joy to watch. We go from one party to another; how much fun these "young creatures" had! What comes as a shocking surprise is, that while a flamboyant Miles camps all over the place, no one seems to care about his being ever so "gay". The shock comes when he is accused of being homosexual and has to abandon England. This was hypocrisy at its best; while he was tolerated by the in crowd, he can't avoid the sticky laws of that era in a supposedly evolved and permissive society.

Emily Mortimer and Stephen Campbell Moore are at the center of the story and both are welcome presences in what will be long film and theatre careers for both of them. Mr. Fry gets excellent acting from all his actors.

There are brilliant cameos by Bill Paterson and Imelda Staunton; they are amazing as Lord and Lady Brown. Peter O'Toole, as Colonel Blount, is also incredible as the man who loves to give his money away! Jim Broadbent, as the drunk major, is perfectly goofy as a man in a cloud, not dealing with reality. Equally good in their short moments in front of the camera were John Mills, Richard E. Grant and Harriet Walker, among others.

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock7 / 10

Witty dialogue, amusing incidents and well-drawn characters

"Bright Young Things" or "Bright Young People" was the name given to a set of hedonistic, fun-loving young aristocrats and bohemians in the London of the 1920s and 1930s and who featured prominently in the gossip columns of the day. When in 1930 Evelyn Waugh wrote a novel satirising the group he initially intended to call it "Bright Young Things", but rejected this because he felt it had become too much of a journalistic cliché. His eventual choice of title, however, "Vile Bodies", was not his happiest inspiration, so it is perhaps not surprising that writer-director Stephen Fry reverted to Waugh's original choice.

The novel contains some brilliant satirical writing and social commentary, but its plot is rather unsatisfactory. It is also notably uneven in tone, starting off relatively light-hearted but becoming progressively bitterer and gloomier; Waugh himself attributed this unevenness to the fact that it was while writing the novel that his marriage to his first wife (also named Evelyn) collapsed. Waugh's story ends with the outbreak of a catastrophic European war; writing three years before Hitler's rise to power, he was remarkably prophetic in this respect.

Fry rewrites Waugh's story somewhat, moving the action from the late twenties/early thirties to the late thirties; there are references to both Hitler and Wallis Simpson. The Prime Minister, however, is neither Baldwin nor Chamberlain but Waugh's fictitious James Brown. (In choosing this name he also proved unintentionally prophetic; Gordon Brown's full name was James Gordon Brown). The film ends during the actual, historical Second World War, not the hypothetical war of the novel. Fry is able to deal more explicitly with matters such as drug use and homosexuality, which in the moral climate of the early thirties Waugh could only hint at.

The plot is really too complex to summarise in any detail, but it revolves around the efforts of an aspiring young novelist named Adam Fenwick-Symes to find enough money to court his fiancée Nina Blount. When the manuscript of Adam's latest novel, also titled "Bright Young Things", is confiscated by Dover customs officers for allegedly being pornographic, even though they have never read it, he is forced to take a job as a gossip columnist on a newspaper, a job which brings him into frequent contact with London's smart set. Other important characters include Simon Balcairn, Adam's predecessor as "Mr Chatterbox", Ginger Littlejohn, Adam's rival for Nina's affections, and the Canadian-born newspaper proprietor Lord Monomark. (Monomark, like Lord Copper in Waugh's later novel "Scoop", is a satirical portrait of Lord Beaverbrook).

The film contains a large number of cameos by distinguished members of the British acting profession, among them John Mills in his last film before his death two years later. Among the notable contributions are those from Dan Aykroyd as the overbearing Monomark, Fenella Woolgar as the madcap socialite Agatha Runcible, Michael Sheen as the screamingly camp Miles Malpractice, Peter O'Toole as Nina's mad old father Colonel Blount and Simon Callow as the exiled King of Anatolia, forever bewailing the theft of a valuable fountain-pen, something which seems to distress him far more than the loss of his kingdom.

Fry keeps some of the serious incidents from the original novel; one character, for example, commits suicide and another ends up in a lunatic asylum, but he gives his film a much happier ending. This may prove controversial with purists, but in my view it was the right thing to do. Waugh's bleak ending served to underline his serious satirical purpose, but satire tends to lose its bite when directed against the mores and social institutions of several decades ago rather than against those of one's own day. "Bright Young Things" is less a social satire than a comedy-drama with a period setting, and, with some witty dialogue, amusing incidents and well-drawn characters it works very well as such. 7/10

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