"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.
Bright Young Things
Comedy / Drama / War
Bright Young Things
Comedy / Drama / War
A fool and his money. In the 1930s, Adam Fenwick-Symes (Stephen Campbell Moore) is part of the English idle class, wanting to marry the flighty Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer). He's a novelist with a one hundred-pound advance for a manuscript confiscated by English customs. He spends the next several years trying to get money and to set a wedding date. He trades in gossip, wins money on wagers, then gives it to a drunken Major (Jim Broadbent),who suggested he bet on a horse in an upcoming race. Adam tries to get the money back, but can't find the Major. Meanwhile, Nina needs security, friends drink too much, and general unhappiness spoils the party. Then war breaks out. Is Adam's bright youth dimming with the fall of an empire?
Uploaded by: FREEMAN