The shadows of war hang over Bright Young Things, casting a pall over the endless parties. Set in England between World Wars I and II, the movie's based on Evelyn Waugh's 1930 novel, Vile Bodies. And although the mise-en-scÃne is a little hectic, more cocaine than champagne, it does help capture the melancholic jitters that overcame an entire generation as it slid from one catastrophe to another. 'I don't think I've been so frantically bored in my life,' someone says while a band plays and drinks are poured and bodies are flung at the dance floor. Like so many groups of aristobrats, these bright young things were determined to celebrate all the way to oblivion.
Stephen Campbell Moore stars as the Waugh-like Adam Symes, a writer in need of more money if he's going to marry Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer), who loves him but would love him that much more if he were able to provide for her in the manner to which she's grown accustomed. Over the course of the movie, Adam's prospects rise and fall, comically and tragically. Meanwhile, the others succumb to suicide, madness and scandal.Waugh titled his last chapter 'Happy Ending' without actually providing one. But director Stephen Fry, who's done an admirable job of bringing those vile bodies to the screen, couldn't help himself. Apparently, even the idle rich deserve a break from the sound of guns and the smell of gas.