Young Adam is set in a classically British grim, working class life on Clyde barges in the post-war years (early '50s I think). Joe Taylor, a Scots Meursault played by Ewan McGregor, smokes endless roll-ups, sleeps with endless women and generally sits around looking damp and dour. He displays little passion for anything, the frequent sex seems to be just as much a way of filling time as the paperbacks he reads. The film unfolds around this character's past, and explores the loss of the few cares he had. As it progresses, his general nihilisim is tempered by occasional concern for other people, but heroism means as little to him as the rest of existence. It's a bleak film, with little hope or faith in humanity. The direction is good, with a superb period feel, cloying claustrophobia and some beautiful camera work.
Bright Young Things was somewhat lighthearted relief after that. It starts with implausible Wodehousian antics at interbellum London society, then the plot then slowly darkens as the social set falls apart from within and without. I'd like to read Waugh's book at some point; my suspicion is that the satire has been blunted by the film, leaving a mix that's neither as witty or as sharp as it could be. It's amusing in many places, and worth seeing, but didn't quite have the edge that it needed.
Good Bye Lenin! was interesting as a personalised look at how life changed for the citizens of the DDR during German reunification. It was also a tale of lies, and the effort needed to sustain a lie before reality reasserts itself. Without the aid of The Matrix, two young adults in Berlin attempt to construct an alternative reality for their mother, a dedicated socialist who's come out of a coma during the final days of the DDR, as the Western capitalism was gradually infusing throughout the East. It's a sweet, implausible but amusing story; and a very interesting historical setting, with a sympathetic portrayal of people who really did find something to admire in the socialist state.