Bright Young Things

Director: Stephen Fry
Screenwriters: Evelyn Waugh, Stephen Fry

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


British Renaissance man Stephen Fry adapts Evelyn Waugh's novel Vile Bodies into a sparkling gem of a film. Bright Young Things is about just that: the glittering, effervescent, always-clever-"indeed" set of young people populating the society pages of 1930s London.

At the center is the aspiring novelist Adam, who is a tad down on his luck but still intends to marry the popular "it" girl, Nina. Adam knows it will take more than dreams to win her, but whenever he comes close to a windfall, it drifts just out of reach. Their story is set against a dizzying backdrop of flamboyant characters and tightly woven plot lines. The art direction is sublime, from extravagant parties to naughty high jinks only the idle rich can afford. The fresh-faced, quick-witted cast is remarkable, and sexual innuendo bubbles like champagne.

Fry may be seducing us at first, but his intention is clear. The resemblance to today is obvious. As 1930s England spirals toward a world war, drug addiction takes its toll, and British sodomy laws rear their ugly heads, the film subtly changes to reflect the loss of innocence. Bright Young Things may be a sexy, funny pastiche of good times gone by, but its overtones still ring true.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]