Hey, it's whatshisname from, you know, that movie! "Bright Young Things" (IMDb listing) is
one of those movies with a fabulous ensemble cast of notable newcomers and
distinguished character actors whose faces you instantly recognize, but
whose names you can't quite place. And they're all in it for the acting,
turning in terrific performances that brilliantly complement each other,
making this one weird, funny and highly entertaining piece of cinema.
Shortly before the second World War, writer Adam Symes (Stephen Campbell
Moore) returns to London and the eccentric, frenzied, party-driven world of
his fiancee Nina (Emily Mortimer) and their friends, known in the city and
the scandal-hungry press only as the Bright Young Things. Forever trying to
scrape together enough money to marry Nina, the odds seem perpetually
stacked against Adam. His book is confiscated as "dirt" by a customs officer
and he gives a substantial amount of money, won in a bet, to the Drunken
Major (Jim Broadbent) who promises to put it on the winning horse in the
November Handicap, then promptly disappears. But money is just one of Adam's
problems as the clique's drug and drink fuelled social life spins ever more
out of control, claiming casualties along the way. Suddenly, at the height
of the perpetual party, war is declared and the Bright Young Things are
forced to re-evaluate life's priorities.
Joining Moore and Mortimer are Fenella Woolgar, James McAvoy, Michael Sheen
and Guy Henry as the Bright Young Things. They're supported by a cameo
line-up including Dan Aykroyd, Broadbent, Simon Callow, Stockard Channing,
Richard E. Grant, Julia McKenzie, Sir John Mills (thrilled to partake in his
first-ever cocaine movie at 94), Peter O'Toole, Bill Paterson, Imelda
Staunton and Harriet Walter.
"Bright Young Things" is a complex and smart directorial debut from writer/actor Stephen
Fry, who adapted the screenplay from Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies." Waugh, by the by, is indeed a man, in case you weren't quite sure either.
Producer Miranda Davis loved the book on first read, thinking, "it really
reflected a part of how we live now -- our obsession with celebrity [and]
status," it would make a lovely film. Fry, "Vile Bodies" being one of his
favorites, was recruited to write the screenplay and Davis decided to pop
the question whether he wanted to direct. Said Fry, "I thought you'd never
"Bright Young Things," shot on
location in and around London, is a visually enticing film that offers a glimpse
of English eccentricity at its most extravagant. British to the core, it's probably not for everyone. You'll either get it, or you won't, but it's worth taking the chance.
Filmfodder Grade: A