Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Big Chill (1983) [R] ****

One could argue that the three defining events of the Sixties were the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, and if you can remember where you were at the time of any one of those events then you're from the Sixties.

The Big Chill is the story of seven close friends and classmates who grew up in those turbulent Sixties, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 1968 just days after Bobby Kennedy was shot, and who are reunited fifteen years later for one poignant weekend, to mourn the passing of their eighth friend who had died by his own hand. Harold (Kevin Kline) is the wealthy owner of a retail chain of running shoe stores; his wife Sarah (Glenn Close) is a physician, and it's at their Beaufort, S.C. home that the weekend's events take place. Their friends include People magazine writer Michael (Jeff Goldblum), attorney Meg (Mary Kay Place), TV star Sam (Tom Berenger), housewife and mother Karen (JoBeth Williams), drug dealer Nick (William Hurt) and Chloe (Meg Tilly) the much-younger girlfriend of the deceased.

Over the course of the weekend, the veneer of friendship is peeled away to reveal the passions that had bound them together, and at one point threaten to tear them apart. From a distance of three decades, the dialog seems relatively polite and civil, and the actors, who have all had successful film careers, seem very young, as though we have entered a time warp. This feeling is emphasized by the soundtrack, an incredible compilation of the best music from the Sixties. While younger audiences may not understand this film, if you're a Baby Boomer and you haven't treated yourself to The Big Chill in the past decade, you will be amazed at the effect the film will have on your psyche, and on its ability to connect you with the events of your past, the defining moments of your life.

Labels: comedy, drama, music, reunion
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 61/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=62, viewers=72)

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