Stephen Fry's take on Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies

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Overall rating:

Score 4


Bright Young Things


Set in a brilliantly vacuous world of cocaine-sniffing ‘celebrities’ sustained by a media that subsists on junk gossip, the contemporary relevance of writer/director Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things hits you squarely on the head like a carelessly-tossed champagne bottle.

Based on Waugh’s second novel, Fry’s directorial debut follows a gaggle of idle rich gadabouts with a predilection for fast jazz, gramophone records and “naughty salt”. At the centre of the whirl is writer Adam (Stephen Campbell Moore), a vapid cipher like all Waugh’s main characters, haplessly trying to raise enough money to marry Nina (Emily Mortimer).

Self-destruction and self-examination follow all this licentious hedonism but Fry handles the gear-shifts ably, while his ear for Waugh’s brilliant dialogue is impeccable. Cameos from Simon Callow, Peter O’Toole and Dan Aykroyd (as a US newspaper mogul contemptuous of the chinless lackeys he employs) help make for a film that is at times fabulously funny and entertaining.