Bright Young Things is a sumptuous adapation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel “Vile Bodies”. The book is a cutting satire of British cafe society of the 1930’s. The director and adapter, Stephen Fry, retains much of the novels comic edge. I would expect nothing less from Fry, the noted British humorist and living embodiment of Oscar Wilde.
The movie is mostly about the posh lifestyle of novelist Adam Fenwick-Symes (played by Stephen Campbell Moore)and his lover Nina (played by Emily Mortimer). The circle …f friends, however, add to the decadence; cameos by Peter O’Toole, Jim Broadbent, and Dan Akroyd add to the fun. However, World War II comes around, and we find out that glitz and glamour isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. This a very underrated movie that we didn’t hear much about. Too bad.
Bright Young Things is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. There’s really not too much difference. The rear speakers get a workout with the musical score, but this is a movie that rests on its pithiness. The dialogue is crisp and clear throughout.
The video transfer is gorgeous. In 1.78:1 widescreen, the screen is filled with color. Perhaps a bit too much in this transfer. But on the good side, nary a speckling is to be found. This is a sharp, finely detailed transfer. I will use this word again. Sumptuous.
There is a droll commentary from Stephen Fry. I always enjoying watching Mr. Fry. Listening to him is just as enjoyable. This is his first time directing, and he seems to talk about the technical side of things pretty well. We get to see him in his own featurette entitled, “Stephen Fry: Director”. This featurette is a funny, unpretentious look at Mr. Fry at work. Another fascinating featurette is entitled “Bottom Up: A Runner’s Perspective on Making Bright Young Things”. Production Assistant Shane Davey takes the audience on a journey into the day to day realities of making a film. Every budding filmmaker should check this one out. Rounding out the extras are a few trailers.
Bright Young Things is a diamond in the DVD rough. If you like your movies pithy and witty, this one’s right up your alley. The period decor, music, and characters are all…well…sumptuous. Stephen Fry’s first directing foray is a smashing success. Vivid transfer, solid sound, and engaging extras make this a must rental.
Special Features List
- Stephen Fry commentary
- Featurette, “Stephen Fry: Director”
- Making of Featurette