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flick pick | The Big Chill 1983
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
Written by: Barbara Benedek, Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, William Hurt, JoBeth Williams, Meg Tilly
Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: nostalgic, witty
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5

Plot synopsis As students at the University of Michigan back in the 60s, Sarah, Harold, Sam, Michael, Meg, Karen, Nick and Alex were housemates and best friends. Fast forward a decade and a half, and most have shed the ideals of their hippie youths and settled into comfortable, secure, affluent lives. Sarah’s a doctor, Harold a running-shoe entrepreneur, and the two are happily married, with kids, living in a big old beautiful house. Meg’s a high-powered corporate lawyer, Sam’s a full-fledged TV star, Michael a successful writer for People magazine, Karen a suburban housewife-mom. Only Nick and Alex have avoided yuppie-dom and the big sell-out – not that it’s done either one of them much good. When the latter kills himself, the remaining seven friends find themselves gathered together after the funeral for a spontaneous reunion under Sarah and Harold’s roof. It’s a weekend filled with reminiscing and revelations, as the old group finds themselves forced to take a good, hard look at where they’ve been, where they’re at, what’s become of themselves and their relationships with one another – and whether any one of them is even remotely close to being happy about where they’re heading.

Review Sigh. I love The Big Chill, and I don’t care if it’s not cool to say so. Sure, it’s talky, occasionally whiny, and frequently self-important. And the scene where Glenn Close’s Sarah offers up her husband’s services for her baby-mad single pal Meg is both fairly unbelievable and not a small amount ewwwwwww disturbing. But The Big Chill is also witty, funny, sad, and joyous, and if the characters occasionally seem self-indulgently introspective – analyzing their individual lives to bits as if their every little stupid action if of universal consequence – well, to me, that’s part of what makes the characters so believable, so much like people I know (if I’m being honest, most especially yours truly) … which may be why when I find myself laughing at them – and I do, often – I’m partially also laughing at myself, at the way we all have of occasionally taking ourselves too seriously. The cast is superb, especially Glenn Close, Kevin Kline (if you can get past the bizarro, pseudo-Southern accent), William Hurt and Jeff Goldblum (who, in the sort of role he’s recycled who knows how many times in his career since, is at his most charmingly, wittily smarmy as "journalist" Michael). Most of all, there’s no other movie I can think of that so perfectly captures that cozy, half-asleep, late-night, anything-goes, talk-uncensored camaraderie that for me, at least, epitomizes everything that was so lovely and amazing and good about the college years. —reviewed by Y. Sun

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