Bright Young Things Reviews

Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
The 'wit' is leaden and unfunny; the narrative's progress ungainly; the direction stolid.
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Houston Chronicle
July 21, 2005
One conceit of writer-director Stephen Fry is to dramatize parties as knots of chaos, social hurricanes that spill across the landscape this way and that, ruining lives, eating time, preventing progress of any kind.
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 7, 2004
Though Fry's movie has plenty of nasty wit, it lacks the sheer luxurious malice of Waugh's book. Fry is acerbic; Waugh is lethal.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
September 24, 2004
Suffers from feeling like it's just pretending to be good when it's obviously much, much happier being bad. But when it's bad, it's very, very good.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
September 24, 2004
If you yearn for a Brit fix, this is your flick. If not, think twice before checking it out.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 24, 2004
Since no one is playing a rounded character -- just pawns in Waugh's linguistic 'exercise' -- the performances are necessarily mere snapshots haphazardly crammed into a chaotic album.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Michael Booth
Denver Post
September 24, 2004
For those who mourned the final episodes of Brideshead and other installments of the queen's English, Bright Young Things is a diverting evening in the British Isles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
September 24, 2004
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
September 24, 2004
In trying so hard not to take itself too seriously, Bright Young Things succeeds in being a lot of ado over nothing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 23, 2004
Sizzles with Jazz Age energy, sparkles with champagne wit and roars along like a Grand Prix race car.
Top Critic
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
September 17, 2004
As anyone who has ever attended a party knows, people under the influence tend to be supremely dull unless you're one of them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 17, 2004
Busy, unfocused, yet still acridly funny and moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 17, 2004
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
September 16, 2004
Seeing Bright Young Things is like going to a party that you greatly enjoy even while realizing that you may not remember it.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
September 10, 2004
Fry, in his directing debut, shows an eye for style, a fine literary intelligence and an unmistakable heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
September 10, 2004
Witty, energetic adaptation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 10, 2004
The Bright Young Things profess to be bored, but in Fry's hands, they are never boring.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 10, 2004
Waugh's novel and Fry's movie wisely see that their characters live by spending their comic capital and ending up emotionally overdrawn.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
September 10, 2004
It's a fits-and-starts kind of thing, advancing three steps to the side for every step forward, possibly more enchanted with the vagaries of its own characters than we in the audience might be.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
September 10, 2004
Exults in its own giddy absurdity.
Top Critic
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
September 9, 2004
As faithful to the spirit of the novel, and the era that inspired it, as a movie could be yet still feel as fresh as Paris Hilton dish on Page Six.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
September 9, 2004
Its brightest stars, and those who get the best lines, are its campy, sexually ambiguous newcomers -- a very funny Michael Sheen as the queeny doper Miles Malpractice, and a wonderfully daffy Fenella Woolgar as Agatha Runcible.
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
September 9, 2004
A brilliant, giddy satiric romp with a discreetly moralistic viewpoint beneath its high-style wit.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 22, 2004
The younger and less familiar performers are more than adequate, but it's the older guard that shines.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
August 21, 2004
You walk away from Bright Young Things believing that, by and large, Fry has gotten Waugh as well as any filmmaker could be expected to.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
August 20, 2004
A bonbon with an empty center.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
August 20, 2004
This is a wickedly funny skewering of a prewar London society gone mad with frivolity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 20, 2004
As Agatha might observe, it's all too, too yawn-making. Who are these dreadful people and why on earth must we watch them learning their little moral lessons?
Top Critic
Megan Lehmann
New York Post
August 20, 2004
The lively whirl of debauched, drug-fueled parties and toffee-nosed exchanges between heiresses and aristocrats fails to mask the essential hollowness of the narrative.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic

Ebert & Roeper
August 19, 2004
Top Critic
August 19, 2004
This is just how I'd always imagined one of my favorite comic novels should look and sound.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
August 19, 2004
Stephen Fry's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies honors its source with vigor and gusto, capturing both Waugh's cheeky humor and his dark, stringent moralism.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Ed Park
Village Voice
August 17, 2004
Aside from cameos by Jim Broadbent (as the drunken major) and Peter O'Toole (as Nina's reclusive, eccentric father), much of the acting strains for a sophistication that quickly becomes annoying.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 12, 2004
By the time Fry lets darkness encroach on these bright young things, including a flapper and a suicidal scribe, the fizz is gone.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 11, 2004
Fry's sprightly attempt doesn't entirely avoid some of the clichés of drawing-room dramas actually set in drawing rooms, but his instincts are, happily, subversive.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Derek Elley
Variety
August 11, 2004
An easy-to-digest slice of literate entertainment for upscale and older auds that lacks a significant emotional undertow to make it a truly involving -- rather than simply voyeuristic -- experience.
Top Critic
Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
September 24, 2003
The result will be judged on two levels: as an adaptation of Waugh's classic novel and as a film on its own merits. Possibly torn between the two, Fry fails at both.