Bright Young Things

Critics Consensus

Colored with witty performances and a camp sense of satire, Stephen Fry's version of Evelyn Waugh's novel may only be fitfully successful but it does mark a promising debut for the British comic.



Total Count: 111


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,436
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Movie Info

British writer/actor Stephen Fry makes his feature-film debut with the witty, sophisticated comedy Bright Young Things, adapted from Evelyn Waugh's 1930 novel Vile Bodies. Set in London during the '30s, this stylish period film follows an ensemble cast of well-dressed and highly literate partygoers. Aspiring writer Adam Fenwick-Symes (stage actor Stephen Campbell Moore) loses the manuscript of his first novel when traveling through customs. He then sets out to raise enough money to marry his sweetheart, Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer), the daughter of a colonel (Peter O'Toole). All in the name of love, Adam seeks funding through a constant stream of parties, meetings, and conversations with eccentric acquaintances. Cameo appearances are made by the likes of Dan Aykroyd, Simon Callow, and Stockard Channing. Bright Young Things was shown at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival.


Emily Mortimer
as Nina Blount
James McAvoy
as Simon Balcairn
David Tennant
as Ginger Littlejohn
Guy Henry
as Archie
Alec Newman
as Tiger LaBouchere
Dan Aykroyd
as Lord Monomark
Jim Broadbent
as Drunk Major
Simon Callow
as King of Anatolia
Jim Carter
as Chief Customs Officer
Stockard Channing
as Mrs. Melrose Ape
Richard E. Grant
as Father Rothschild
Julia McKenzie
as Lottie Crump
John Mills
as Man Taking Cocaine at Party
Bill Paterson
as Sir James Brown
Imelda Staunton
as Lady Brown
Harriet Walker
as Lady Maitland
Peter O'Toole
as Colonel Blount
Simon McBurney
as Sneath/Photo Rat
Alex Barclay
as Jimmy Vanburgh
Bruno Lastra
as Basilio
Lisa Dillon
as Jane Brown
Stephen Fry
as Chauffer
Mark Gatiss
as Estate Agent
Ivan Marevich
as Foreign Dignatory
Tony Maudsley
as Race Steward
Robyn Parton
as Solo Singing Angel
Nigel Planer
as Adam's Taxi Driver
Larry Randall
as Handsome Man at Party
Anna-Marie Wayne
as Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for Bright Young Things

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (39)

Audience Reviews for Bright Young Things

  • Mar 13, 2012
    A nicely directed first feature from Fry (although you suspect he's thrown a lot of unneccesary clutter in there too) but your enjoyment of the film will depend on how much you can actually stand the characters. I admired the performances but didn't take to any of them and therefore found the whole thing a bit of a frothy mix rather than a substantial work.
    David S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 05, 2011
    Airy-fairy dross that lacks substance.
    Ross C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2009
    "Bright, young people. That's what they call you. Well, I guess one of out three isn't bad." Bright Young Things is one of the lightest things I've seen in quite a while. It is not serious at all, nor does it take itself seriously. Its flinty, funny, and irreverent. I was curious to see how Stephen Fry would in the director's chair, and he is really rather good. Plus, there is an incredible lineup; with James McAvoy, David Tennant, Jim Broadbent, Michael Sheen, and so many others. I really would never want to watch this again, but it really is great fun to watch once.
    Jake . Super Reviewer
  • Dec 19, 2008
    I went into this knowing that it would be difficult to capture the brilliance of "Vile Bodies", which is one of my favorite novels. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised (and thoroughly amused) at how well Mr. Fry captured the feel of the book. The set designs and costumes are wonderful, the cast is amazing and the writing (al a Waugh) is brilliant and clever. I was even impressed by Dan Aykroyd who is not normally a "draw" for me.
    Robert C Super Reviewer

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