The Big Chill (1983)

Having to live in this house for a week, I would probably go mad.

Never trust anyone over 30 … except this group of erstwhile buddies and former college radicals. After years apart, friends who’ve followed divergent paths reunite at the funeral of one of their own. Watch as the top-notch ensemble (William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, JoBeth Williams, Mary Kay Place, Tom Berenger and Jeff Goldblum) reconnects.

The Big Chill is just one of those big ensemble films that just rely a lot on its ensemble to the best. Some of that works, some of that doesn’t.

The one problem with this film is not so much as its fault but more of a generation barrier. The film is about people that grew up during the 60s, and have to get used to the 80s. Back then when the film was made we could connect to that, but now in the 21st century a lot has changed.

Another thing with the film is its subtlety with its characters and the story itself. There really is no story here except all these good-looking pople staying together in one house, talking, and just making random thoughts on life. Also, we never really understand the characters of who and what they are. There is one chick that goes on about how she wants to be pregnant, then the other one’s basically saying “hey have my husband make a baby”.

The writing here is however top-notched. It borders on many levels of dramatic and comedic, but strikes a fine line between both which I enjoyed mostly. I feel like the way these people talked is how real people actually do talk, its just that they are so honest with each other that they just say anything they want without any consequences, that is what kind of struck me off. The scenes and how the movie was structured were so quick and short, that we never got a chance to understand these people right away.

The film did have good stuff to it surprisingly. The eclectic soundtrack of old hits from soul and classic rock add a lot of flavor to the film, instead of just having one of those cheesy 80s dramatic score pieces. Also, though the characters weren’t quite well done, I still think the performances added on a lot more.

Almost everybody does a great job with there characters and the material with what they are given. Glenn Close of the 4 females does the best job as playing the one character in the whole film who we understand from start to finish, without any real confusion. William Hurt does the best job out of the 4 males, and proves that he can be self-destructive while still being likable in how he runs his life.

Lastly, the one last problem is that the whole film is about how life and how these characters accept it for what it is. But there is no real message for this film. I think when you have a character that has committed suicide, you should really build off of that and have an idea about life that you shouldn’t take for granted. That doesn’t quite happen here instead we just end up with these characters who just are happy with life cause they got to see each other but what about the life of their deceased friend?

Consensus: There are a lot of faults here including the generation gap, lack of subtlety from characters and plot, and no real message, but has good performances from its ensemble cast, a great soundtrack, and wonderful writing that is real and tragic.


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