Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Big Chill (Review)

     "The Big Chill" is one of my favorite movies and tonight, I was feeling nostalgic.  I didn't even make popcorn.  I didn't want anything anything between me and the screen.

     "The Big Chill" is about seven old college friends, 60's radicals and revolutionaries all, who are brought back together to attend the funeral of one of their own, who committed suicide for, seemingly, no reason.  They all spend the weekend together, remembering old times, catching up on where they are now, wondering how they got there, testing the bonds of their friendship, and wondering if those times, not so long ago, were really as deep and meaningful as they seemed or as shallow and naive as they now appear. 

     That doesn't sound like much of a plot, I know, but "The Big Chill" is an extraordinarily well written and well acted psychological analysis of the Woodstock generation and their seemingly inexplicable transformation into the yuppies of the 1980s.  It mixes subtle humor with dark subject matter and creates a web of complex and dynamic relationships that feels as genuine and natural as life its self.  (Real friends and relationships.  Not the kind on Twitter and Facebook.)  Add to that a talented, ensemble cast, (Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Tom Berenger, Mary Kay Place, JoBeth Williams, and a young Meg Tilly) and an incredible soundtrack of 60's classics and you've got a cult hit that gets deeper and ever more meaningful with each viewing. 

     "The Big Chill" isn't for everyone.  There are no explosions or special effects.  The humor is subdued and mixed with emotional subtext.  The details of each characters relationships to one another unfold slowly and are revealed in meaningful glances and quick comments that only close friends would understand.  This film is an exceptionally well portrayed slice of life.  In the end, people have grown or changed or have begun to heal longstanding and painful issues in their lives.  We get to see the 60's through the cynical eyes of the 80's and regain a bit of of the 'lost hope' from that rose colored, bygone era.

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