Fenella Woolgar

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Bright Young Things Review


OK
Bright Young Things arrives at an ideal time. Focusing on a group of twentysomething socialites having a frolicking good time in 1930s London, while the press hungers for every detail, it capitalizes on the current media's fascination with idiot VIPs like the Hilton sisters and Bijou Phillips. For some, Bright Young Things could also serve as a sunnier alternative to the gloomy young things in Garden State, Natalie Portman excluded.

It's OK to have fun in your twenties, and in Bright Young Things, the characters have plenty of it. They attend lavish costume parties that scream of good times and well-funded debauchery, do cocaine like Rick James in 1979 and take trips to the countryside, all the while exchanging quips. At its best, the movie resembles a far more literate, sophisticated version of an episode of the E! True Hollywood Story.

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VERA DRAKE Review


Very Good

Bustling around drizzly, post-WWII London with a happy, doughy face and gleaming eyes, Vera (Imelda Staunton) works as a floor-scrubber for the wealthy, humming to herself and calling everyone "dear."

She lives in a graying flat with her auto mechanic husband (Phil Davis) and her grown son (Daniel Mays) and daughter (Alex Kelly). When she subtly plays matchmaker for her shy, homely daughter by inviting a poor, reserved bachelor and war veteran (Eddie Marsan) over for some real food, their awkward walk together in a park is one of this movie's oddest delights.

For Vera, no problem is ever so great that a nice cup of tea can't solve it; she often visits ailing neighbors and occasionally helps expectant girls by performing homespun abortions. When one of these patients almost dies, Vera is arrested and tried for her "crime."

Continue reading: VERA DRAKE Review

Bright Young Things Review


Very Good

"Bright Young Things" is a terribly witty romp through 1930s pre-war London with a pack of idle young swells who live scrumptious but superficial lives of joyous gossip-page decadence and complacent scandal that has the potential to ruin them.

Very cleverly adapted (from Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies") and directed by the gifted comedic actor Stephen Fry ("Wilde," "Peter's Friends"), our surrogate in this world is Adam Symes (newcomer Stephen Campbell Moore), a well-connected but flat broke novelist and fringe member of this society who is railroaded into writing an anonymous gossip column about his pals -- although he's soon inventing entirely fictional members of the circle just to keep his readers amused.

An ironic failure at schemes to get rich quick so he can ask the "frantically bored" and beautiful but secretly vulnerable and melancholy Nina (subtly heartbreaking and simply wonderful Emily Mortimer) to marry him, Adam's fortunes -- which practically fluctuate with the tides -- are just one source of endless humor. But director Fry furtively hints at shades of compunction and misfortune under the film's carefree surface that bubble up as world events encroach on these lives of leisure, eventually taking the film to an unexpected level of empathy, nuance and humanity.

Continue reading: Bright Young Things Review

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Fenella Woolgar Movies

VERA DRAKE Movie Review

VERA DRAKE Movie Review

Bustling around drizzly, post-WWII London with a happy, doughy face and gleaming eyes, Vera (Imelda...

Bright Young Things Movie Review

Bright Young Things Movie Review

"Bright Young Things" is a terribly witty romp through 1930s pre-war London with a pack...

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