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Big Chill

A movie directed by Lawrence Kasdan

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Big Chill – whimsical trip to never-never land

  • Apr 13, 2001
Pros: Writing, directing, acting, soundtrack

Cons: none

The Bottom Line: Good tunes and good acting, what else do you want?

On occasion I like to re-watch The Big Chill to give myself a fun dose of reality. Sure the thing is dated, but the idea of forming friendships never goes out of style, and the music is classic.

The story centers on a group of college students that were once living on the edge, now they are just edgy. Coming back together under less than delightful circumstances, they meet up to bury a fellow friend and classmate, Alex (Kevin Costner). Alex has been staying in a run down guest house on the property of Harold & Sarah (Kevin Cline & Glenn Close), with his latest nubile girlfriend Chloe (Meg Tilly).

Joining the group are Sam (Tom Berenger), Michael (Jeff Goldblum), Nick (William Hurt), Meg (Mary Kay Place), Karen (JoBeth Williams) and apparently the directors family Jon, Jacob and Meg Kasdan. Over the years the gang has grown, succeeded, and sometimes failed. Viet Nam has come into play and some have done their duty and paid for it, one is a successful actor, one a corporate attorney, doctors, psychiatrists, drug dealers, gypsies, tramps and thieves. A conglomeration of life and lifestyles all dumped into this house for the weekend.

They get drunk, they get stoned. They relive old memories and ruminate over the past. Sometimes they even speak of the future and wonder when they lost their ‘radical’ ways. As they did in their youth, they argue and disagree over almost everything and anything. Old loves are rekindled and new sparks are put to test. And the music plays on.

The soundtrack from The Big Chill has probably some of the most recognized songs included. “Heard it on the Grapevine, My Girl, Natural Woman, Whiter Shade of Pale”, all bring back a boatload of memories and feel-good times.

Strangely enough, the funeral plays little part in this movie. It is more about the remaining members of the group and how their lives have changed. There are times they discuss the passing of Alex, but more in content of how they are living their lives now and how they have all but ignored him over the years. This pretty much reflects how most people work their friendships and relationships these days. Even as dated as this story is, it still has a wonderful lesson to be learned, true friendship never really dies or goes away or disolves.

Sitting on the sidelines
This is a great movie with a full cast of people to enjoy. The music is just fun and watching this wonderful cast all together is priceless. The interaction between the players is jocular even under the circumstances they are together to observe. It’s what you want your reunions to be like but seldom are!

Goldblum absolutely cracks me up when he starts on his diatribes, no matter what movie he is in he seems to get off on these verbal tangents that leave you feeling like a deer in headlights. Kline and Close are perfectly matched and seem to really enjoy their roles. I’ve always like M.K. Place since her Mary Hartman days and Meg Tilly was enchanting. Hurt, as usual, muddles through his role neither powerful or blasé, just an enjoyable actor. JoBeth Williams is just cute. And Kevin Costner, …. Who knew?

There is little to find in this movie to dislike. The script and casting are spectacular, the soundtrack is timeless and besides, it just makes you feel good!

Written & directed by Lawrence Kasdan


Susi :)


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May 10, 2011
Hi, Susi...
More Big Chill reviews
review by . May 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Alex - The Phantom Menace
I can recall for years hearing about “The Big Chill”.  That it was an amazing movie and the critical acclaim did nothing but support this honor.  Being a fan of cinema and a bit of a movie buff I finally decided last night to watch the movie.  The only thing I knew about the flick was it was an ensemble piece, had fine actors and actresses and all of KevinCostner’s scenes were deleted.  After I watched this movie I felt rather quizzical.  Not really sure …
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


Seven members of a close-knit college group of friends are reunited fifteen years later after the eighth commits suicide. The funeral and reception lead to an extended weekend for all as they decide to spend time together pondering the recent events. Amidst a barrage of Motown classics, the members each offer little tidbits about their current lives while reminiscing about the past. In college, the absent and recently deceased Alex was the biggest and brightest star of the bunch but never seemed to get anywhere after being set loose in the real world. The slow acknowledgement that their champion never materialized leads the group in ever widening circles of thought. Discussions of their past lives and current bring about the realization that each has changed so much while remaining remarkably similar. Despite the tragic circumstances, the group disperses with renewed friendships and a newfound appreciation for life.
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Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Release Date: 1983
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (January 26, 1999)
Runtime: 1hr 45min
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