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Bright Young Things (2003)

  Directed by: Stephen Fry
Written by: Stephen Fry, Evelyn Waugh
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Campbell Moore, Julia McKenzie, Emily Mortimer, Michael Sheen, Fenella Woolgar
Links: Bright Young Things on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Fry fries up a corker" - a review by pearly

I believe this is what is known as an ensemble cast. Bright Young Things is the directorial debut for Stephen Fry, the well-known comedian and "serious" actor. Given his calibre, he has been able to pull together quite the cast. As well as the gaggle of new (bright young) faces, he also has quite the who's-who going on with the supporting cast, with bit parts by Simon Callow, Stockard Channing, Richard E Grant and Peter O'Toole.

Set in the late 1920s, Bright Young Things is about the struggle for position as a young person in a culture of jazz music, fame and fortune, absynthe, and money. The opening scenes are fast-moving, full of colour and movement - a feast for the eyes, reminiscent of Moulin Rouge. The young things are partying with much gusto, while the press try to get inside and take photos to print in the next day's newspaper, and report the scandalous situation to the world.

There is Adam (Stephen Campbell Moore), a writer who is trying to make enough money to be worthy of the woman he wants to marry, Nina (Emily Mortimer). Their partners in crime are Miles (Michael Sheen), a homosexual trying to find his place, and Agatha (Fenella Woolgar), the confident lass with an eerie likeness to Toad of Toad Hall from The Wind in the Willows (1995).

Back where he lives, Adam is asked for rent money by the proprietor of the place where he is staying (Julia McKenzie), but he doesn't have enough. He wins some by beating a guy at a sleight-of-hand game in the bar of the hotel, but then gives it away to a drunk major (Jim Broadbent) in the hopes of winning more on a horse race. As the bright young things socialise, Adam continually bumps into the major, but the money is always just out of his grasp.

I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening of this film that was introduced by Mr Fry himself. He spoke, very eloquently as usual, about how pleased he was to have such a great cast involved in the film, but that he was particularly impressed with his bright young things, who managed to hold their own up against the more seasoned of the cast. I would have to agree with him - all the performances are brilliant, and I was particularly mesmerised by Woolgar (whose character was also one of the most telling in the story).

Bright Young Things is full of life and energy, and is visually overloaded with information. Taken from Evelyn Waugh's novel Vile Bodies, the film is not only funny, but also has plenty to say. Fry seems the perfect choice to have made this film, and he has done a superb job with it.

P.S. courtesy of the Bright Young Things official site, you can read this review in splendidised fashion. Shriekworthy!

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 5 Dec 2003

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