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Bright Young Things

1 h 41 min201415
Known to the press who follow their every move, as the 'Bright Young Things', Adam and his friends are eccentric, wild and entirely shocking to the older generation. Amidst all the madness, Adam is desperately trying to get enough money to marry the beautiful Nina. While his attempts are constantly thwarted, their friends seem one by one to self-destruct in their search for newer sensations.
Stephen Fry
James McAvoyDavid TennantMichael Sheen
None Available
Audio Languages

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Supporting actors
Emily MortimerJulia McKenzieDan Aykroyd
Gina CarterMiranda Davis
Icon Film Distribution
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.3 out of 5 stars

237 global ratings

  1. 60% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 21% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

coraReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 March 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Stylish Directorial Debut of Stephen Fry
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I really enjoyed this stylish film set in the 1930s, based on Evelym Waugh's novel Vile Bodies and directed by Stephen Fry. The bright young things of the title are a group of friends, young members of the upper classes, partying hard and always looking for new thrills. At the centre of the group is Adam (Stephen Campbell Moore), a young writer desperately trying to get enough money together so he can marry the beautiful Nina.

The film captures the atmosphere of the 1930s to perfection with sumptuous sets and costumes, seductive lighting and the outrageous behaviour of the seemingly carefree youths.The soundtrack is also great, especially enjoyable are the numerous Noel Coward songs.

The real treat is the cast which reads like a who is who of (mostly) British acting: Fenella Woolgar is hilarious as the utterly outrageous Agatha, and Michael Sheen in drag is a hoot. In supporting roles appear: David Tennant, Peter O'Toole, Jim Broadbent, Simon Callow, John Mills, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Dan Aykroyd, James McAvoy, Richard E. Grant, Harriet Walter, Julia McKenzie, Stockard Channing and many more.

The DVD I bought has subtitles for those who may need them. Also included are the following extras:
- Director's Commentary with Stephen Fry
- "Stephen Fry - Director" documentary (9 mins)
- "From the Bottom Up" documentary (30 mins)
- Trailer
- TV & Radio Spot
13 people found this helpful
hamptoncherryReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 June 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
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I didn't understand this film. Despite stunning cast and obviously expensive setup it lacks the substance and its attempts at satire and comedy are unconvincing. Is this a story about the empty party culture before the war? Is this a love story? The love story is not exactly touching because the woman doesn't see anything wrong choosing money over love and the man is fine first selling this woman to a rival and then buying her back. As a cherry on top the woman is fine deceiving her husband about whose child she has. Some love indeed.

As a party culture grotesque it works a bit better, but the dots still do not connect. It is a great pity that the characters in the film have a lot more potential than the film allows them to realize. The main character plays essentially a very good person placed in the rotten shallow culture of the era and he could do a lot more with the role. His woman partner "Nina" is a lot weaker but she is nothing but empty-headed party girl anyway, so not much dramatic depth is required.

Overall impression - Stephen Fry wanted to say more with his film that he actually managed. Visually great but weak in the story department. An example of this is a "Prime Minister's Wife" played by Imelda Staunton, who has a tiny role with a few words. But she manages to portray an absolute storm of emotions within a tiny episode. She is a great actress and the film is packed with great actors and actresses. They manage to keep this soap bubble afloat.
One person found this helpful
Paul KellyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 December 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
It was fun while it lasted
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Based on Evelyn Waugh’s novel ‘Vile Bodies’ this film is an enjoyable romp and is stuffed to the gills with well-known British acting talent – old and new. Familiar faces flash across the screen in a breathtaking succession from a cocaine-snorting John Mills, Peter O’Toole to Jim Broadbent, Simon Callow, James McAvoy, Jim Carter, a gaily wonderful Michael Sheen, Harriet Walter, Bill Patterson, David Tennant, Dan Ackroyd, Angela Thorne, Julia Mackenzie, Imelda Staunton, and Richard E Grant amongst others. It’s as if Director Stephen Fry’s address book has come to life (and yes, he gets to play a minor part too). But there’s one that seemingly got away. Male lead Stephen Campbell-Moore on occasion produces inflections that at times have an uncanny resemblance to Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of Bertie Wooster. Adam Fenwick-Symes is not quite as stupid or hapless as Wooster and Hugh Laurie was either too busy or cannily counted himself out. Or Fry thought better of it anyway. But the comparison is apposite as Woodehouse and Waugh were the two great British comic writers of the early twentieth century. Woodhouse was unquestionably the funnier of the two. But Evelyn Waugh was much the darker and arguably closer to reality. He was good friends with real bright young things, Richard, David and Olivia Plunket Greene the grandchildren of British composer Hubert Parry – who wrote ‘Jerusalem’ and much else besides. They used to go to New York ‘to have their trousers altered’. There they fell in love with the Harlem Jazz Club scene. Richard Plunket Greene and his wife Elizabeth had a son, Alexander who in the 1950s married the fashion designer Mary Quant. The two of them helped fuel the swinging sixties and a new set of Bright Young Things. What goes around comes around, as they say. Stephen Fry’s first feature film fizzes with vim and vigour. It was fun while it lasted.
2 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 January 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Undemanding, frothy fun
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This is a great film with an excellent cast. If you like Evelyn Waugh's books and enjoy things which are set in the 1920s, you are highly likely to enjoy his work (originally published as Vile Bodies) when it becomes a film. Stephen Fry directs (his debut in a directorial role) in a way which keeps the film hurtling along at a great pace. It is hard to see why the film didn't receive more critical acclaim at the time it was released, but if you've not yet seen it, get hold of a copy and you are in for a sparkling viewing, albeit actually liking the characters may not be not the agenda.

Open a bottle of wine and take this tongue in cheek nonsense in the spirit Stephen Fry intended!
2 people found this helpful
Sci-Fi AnnieReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 August 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
You'll either love it or hate it.
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This film, based upon Evelyn Waugh's book 'Vile Bodies', is the first film that Stephen Fry directed. An excellent cast of talented actors make it a delight to watch. Despite the era, the storyline bears some similarities to today....youth and their activities horrifying the older generation. The arrival of the 1914 - 1918 war has a huge impact upon the 'Bright Young Things' of the title and their everyday lives and expectations.
One person found this helpful
Mrs JonesReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 March 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Great cast, great costumes, just not for me
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I was attracted by the great cast, the era and the fact that it was based on a novel. Those are the kind of things I usually enjoy, However, I just could not get absorbed. Lovely visually.
Jason RossReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 August 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Well directed
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My daughter thought it played out well
cynthia HughesReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 January 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Still had adverts
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Paid to watch on prime video still had adverts through out the film
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