Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things
Released: December 26 2003
Cast: Emily Mortimer, Stephen Campbell Moore, Dan Ackroyd, Jim Broadbent, Simon Callow, Jim Carter, Stockard Channing, Richard E Grant, Guy Henry, James McAvoy, Julia McKenzie, John Mills, Alec Newman, Bill Paterson, Michael Sheen, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Harriet Walter, Fenella Woolgar and Peter O'Toole.
Director & Writer: Stephen Fry
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: M
Running Time: 106 Minutes

Sex...Scandal...Celebrity...Some Things Never Change.

Our young hero, Adam (STEPHEN CAMPBELL MOORE), needs to get enough money to marry the beautiful Nina (EMILY MORTIMER - Young Adam, 51st State, Love's Labour's Lost, Elizabeth). His friends - eccentric, wild, louche and entirely shocking to the older generation, seem one by one to self-destruct, to crash and burn in their endless search for newer and faster sensations.

Their world is that of the very young, wild, party-loving creatures new to gramophone records and the telephone - this is a self-consciously modern generation that cannot keep still for a second. They are known to the press, who follow their every move, as the Bright Young Things.

My Verdict:
Bright Young Things is deliciously beastly thanks to Stephen Fry's direction and screenplay that he adapted from the Evelyn Waugh novel, 'Vile Bodies'. This is Stephen's directorial debut and he has created a stunning gem. He has an ensemble cast creating an extraordinary story of life in England in the late 1920's.

The film follows the exploits of the 'Bright Young Things' as they are known and more specifically, Adam Symes (Stephen Campbell Moore) and Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer), his on-again, off-again fiancé. Adam and Nina follow the party circuit and have become notorious in the press, along with their many eccentric extroverted bohemian friends.

Adam and Nina and their friends' flit from one party to the next, never ever wanting to go home. They jump feet first everywhere they go and suffer the consequences later. Life is for the moment, not the future. Agatha Runcible (Fenella Woolgar) is one of their friends who manages to drive herself, literally, into a mental asylum, such is her passion for being a free spirit. Closely following Agatha, is their friend Miles (Michael Sheen) who is openly gay and proud of it, much to the consternation of the older conservative generation who are unimpressed by the seemingly wanton behaviour of the 'Bright Young Things'.

There are so many cameos by such well-known actors, too numerous in fact to mention here. However, the standout roles are performed by Peter O'Toole as Nina's wickedly delightful father, Colonel Blount, by Jim Broadbent as the Drunk Major who appears and then disappears just as quickly, by Stockard Channing as Mrs Melrose Ape, an American evangelist, and by Dan Ackroyd as Lord Monomark, a larger than life American newspaper owner.

Bright Young Things is a visual feast, from the opening sequence of the fiery party “Inferno” to the closing dour scenes of England at war. Never once, did Stephen Fry let his guard down and settle for second best. He has captured the mix of characters in their time and given us the opportunity to play voyeur on a time past. Simply magical.

- Christina Bruce


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