Stephen Fry Appreciation Monday – Bright Young Things


Dear faithful readers – happy Stephen Fry Appreciation Monday!

Today we will review our lovely Mr. Fry’s directorial debut Bright Young Things. I promise I will keep it short I’m sure you do not need to read through my bouts of verbal diarrhea plus I am going shopping for all the ingredients for my Christmas baking tomorrow so I do have a rather large list to comply. But I digress.

I broke a habit of a lifetime with this one as I have not read the book first (shame on me really but it is on my bookshop list). So I cannot really compare and contrast – but maybe even better since experience has taught me that usually films based on books rarely if ever live up to my imagination.

Bright Young Things is based on Evelyn Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies that centers on a number of characters (both figuratively and literally speaking) of bohemians, well off aristocrats and other assorted folk living and playing in London.

What makes it so interesting (or horrid depends which way you decide to look at it) is that you can see how the celebrity culture started to take shape – the media moguls, the rich and carefree, even the paparazzis that started gate crashing parties way back then. One feeding off another in a kind of twisted masochistic cycle.

In the beginning it is rather difficult to feel anything for characters other then scorn. I mean how could I not – they are beyond silly. But is satire after all.

Once things start to tumble around them and most of them are slapped (figuratively) on the head pretty damn sharpish a few times the prevailing feeling is one of pity. So from the toast of the town to the mental institution, from everyone’s favorite party boy to exile in France due to homosexuality while others end up in the trenches and working in factories respectively.

I did love the musical score and visually (especially in the beginning) the movie was stunning. I loved the cinematography, the set design, the costumes. Then again I’m biased since I love that period in history.

The cast is a combination of old veterans like Jim Broadbent, Dan Aykroyd, Stockard Channing and David Tennant and up and coming actors like James McAvoy, Fenella Woolgar, Michael Sheen and Emily Mortimer.

It does make for a great view, albeit (to me at least) a depressing one.

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