94 of 1001 Movies: The Big Chill (1983)

The Big Chill is probably one of the most different movies you’ll watch, and at first you may not even be able to point at while. It isn’t until maybe a day after or even a few days after you even realize you liked it more than you thought. The Big Chill is quiet, and may even feel slow at times, but the way the director, Lawrence Kasdan, weaves you into the story with the characters in a subtle way is really brilliant. You find yourself very involved at times, and laugh at things that would only be funny in between the characters had the director not did a great job of making you just as apart of their close knit friendship.

After their friend, Alex, commits suicide, seven college friends are reunited once again under one roof as they grieve their loss, and pick up where they left off before they went their separate ways. More than just coping with their loss happens while together though as old love is revived, and disgruntled feelings that others left with make themselves again known. Moving on from college has changed them though, and new wants and hopes are being remembered after the loss of a friend reminds them how vital it is to not miss the opportunities given.


If you watch The Big Chill for one reason alone it should just be Jeff Goldblum. He’s hilarious as always, and just seems to always bring wit and charm into the character he is portraying. He plays Michael in this one, a journalist, who seems to be reporting on things he feels a little lackluster too, and he still wants to act up just like he did in college as far as sex. He almost doesn’t seem to change in the film except in the most subtle in the ways. He starts out from beginning to end as likable as is.

The rest of the cast is great as well, and the movie only works because of how they can interact with each other. Tom Berenger is Sam, a guy acting in shows that seem a little ridiculous to his friends. While the group of friends is watching one of the shows he stars in it provides one of the funniest moments of the movie as they sort of voice their thoughts of the show. Glenn Close stars as Sarah who is married to Harold (Kevin Kline). They are sort of a quiet, and odd couple who has a lot of turmoil in their past that seems to have somehow brought them closer, and even making Harold appear too understanding.

Finishing out the rest of the cast, you have William Hurt as Nick Carlton. Hurt isn’t an actor you instantly recognize by name, but his face is so recognizable once you see it. He does very well at portraying Carlton who seems to be moving on from some of his experiences in Vietnam to live in society. Mary Kay Place portrays Meg who seems to realize after the death of her friend that she needs to now make greater steps to having a child, which is her biggest goal in life, so when she begins setting up asking the male friends that weekend if one will be the father so she can carry it makes things awkwardly weird, but gives the movie much needed life as far as a plot. You also have JoBeth Williams as Karen, who is married but also seems to still be very into Sam, who is very good at refusing his feelings for her. To round everyone out there is the quiet and weird Chloe (Meg Tilley) who is known only as Alex’s girlfriend before he dies. She doesn’t seem to fit in with the group, but puts herself with them anyways.

The Big Chill is a movie that moves because of characters. You sometimes desperately want to see a glimpse of Alex, the guy who has brought them back together, but this isn’t a movie about the past, or future, but instead the present these people are dealing with, so it sticks completely to just how they figuring out to deal with their circumstances then. It’s a movie that grows in the moment they are together, and you watch as characters branch out to grow up further.

Rating 7 of 10.

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