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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the film that lent it's name to a generation.
THE BIG CHILL is one of those films (like AMERICAN GRAFITTI) that people of a certain age will watch and experience a sense of generational identification. The film is an enjoyable (if somewhat surface) treatment of a generation's coming to terms with the compromise and loss of its youthful ideals. The real treats of the movie are the performances of its ensemble...
Published on January 29, 1999

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Freezer Burn
I saw The Big Chill for the first time only this year. It was playing on TNT or some such station and I was intrigued. I've since purchased the DVD and have enjoyed the film several times now. In my view, it deserves to be considered a minor cult classic.

What I found was a collection of very good efforts by actors who were, at the time, not well known and...
Published on March 8, 2006 by Russell de Ville


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Quiet Movies Make Big Noise, February 28, 1999
By A Customer
Rarely can movies today affect a viewer effectively as this film can. No fancy cameras, no splashy effects, no unneccessary noises. Just a bunch of actors who can take your breath away with a simple glance. It is, in the end, the key to reaching out past the screen: open your hearts to us, and we'll gladly return the favour.
Naked and uninhibited, these characters make no assumptions that their self-righteous college crusades were either the right ones or the only ones. Now part of the civilized world, they must come to grips with the simplest of issues: there is no other alternative to the lives we have created, and therefore, we must smile, hug and remember how important friends really are in this cold, cold world we have built around ourselves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Memory, May 5, 2014
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I have loved this movie since it first came out, and it ages as well as I do. Lawrence Kasden's writing and the great ensemble cast bring this story to life. It was very much my life at that time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many later movies were derived from this movie, April 28, 2014
By 
Porter (Kalama, WA, US) - See all my reviews
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This is a great movie. No wonder it has been copied so much in theater and television since. Great soundtrack too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and in depth look at growing up, September 6, 2012
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Once you get out in the real world and try to follow your ideals and dreams of youth, you might see that it is harder to keep focused than you believed. Dreams change, goals change, and this movie really lets you see that and feel it with characters that you can identify with and care about.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Thrill, March 30, 2012
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Still one of my favouite movies of all time.
Great enselmble cast.
Illustrates power of frienship and love.
Music to die for.
Laugh, cry and cheer for enduring relationships that survive betrayal, distance and time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Ensemble Cast, July 24, 2014
THE BIG CHILL (1983) told the story of a group of college friends from the radical 60s, who get together for a weekend about fifteen years later to attend the funeral of one of their group who has committed suicide. Over the years, each of these once close friends have seen their lives take them in different directions, but in this 3-day reunion they find the old camaraderie is still there as they laugh, cry, make love and arrive at decisions that will alter the course of some of their lives.

Director Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the smart script with Barbara Benedek, brought together one of the finest ensemble casts in memory, including Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Meg Tilly, Jeff Goldblum, Mary Kay Place. William Hurt and Jobeth Williams.

The Criterion Collection has now released a 2 disc (Blu-ray/DVD) 30-year special anniversary edition of THE BIG CHILL and the film is just as relevant and entertaining today as it was when it was first released.

The release features a new, restored 4K digital film transfer, supervised by cinematographer John Bailey and approved by director Kasdan, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, plus an alternate remastered 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray.

Extras include a reunion with cast and crew, including Kasdan, actors Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams, from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, a 1998 documentary on the making of the film, deleted scenes (some quite funny) and a trailer. All content is available in both the Blu-ray and DVD formats. Finally, as with all Criterion releases, there is a booklet; this one featuring an essay by writer, director, and actor Lena Dunham.

© Michael B. Druxman
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Freezer Burn, March 8, 2006
By 
Russell de Ville (El Paso County, CO) - See all my reviews
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I saw The Big Chill for the first time only this year. It was playing on TNT or some such station and I was intrigued. I've since purchased the DVD and have enjoyed the film several times now. In my view, it deserves to be considered a minor cult classic.

What I found was a collection of very good efforts by actors who were, at the time, not well known and fairly inexperienced. I'm quite impressed by Mr Kasdan's eye for casting. This is a superb ensemble! We find in this story a re-grouping of a previously tightly-bonded klatch with the usual variety of contrasting personalities and yet a melding of similar interests.

Alex dies and thus the reason for the gathering. At the funeral (Chapter 2), Alex does not seem to have very many friends. Outside of a handful of family members, Alex' few former classmates and his youngish girlfriend, the church is empty. Even the minister didn't really know him.

These friends end up staying with Sarah (Glenn Close) and her husband Harold (Kevin Kline) over the longish weekend. They spout off glib one-liners and exchange a somewhat forced repartee in multiple attempts to lighten their grief. How many of us have done the same thing in our own moments of despair?

I was impressed by the frequent and liberal use of the word `love.' Several times by word and by gesture, these people affirm their deep commitment to each other. Several exchanges (some heated, some more Socratic) ensue that reflect both unresolved issues from a previous life and the current grieving process. The obvious attachments and subsequent fulfillment of sexual tensions seems to include a nod toward our collective Survival Instinct. It's at once ironic and terribly humorous that the person most openly interested in The Act (Jeff Goldblum as Michael) is left to play with the propeller on his junior aviator's bed.

Moral considerations aside, I somehow did find satisfaction in Sarah's making arrangements (Chapters 25-27) for Harold to attempt to father Meg's (Mary Kay Place) child. Perhaps this was self-induced pay-back for former sins to a degree, but I also found it to be a selfless act on the behalf of a good friend - well, maybe two good friends. Harold didn't seem to mind.

I suppose the popular front-runners in this movie could be Glenn Close and William Hurt. For my money, I'll take Mary Kay Place. She's solid and she wears comfortably into middle age (episodes of Law and Order, The West Wing and Numb3rs most recently).

In writing book and film reviews for Amazon, I tend to do a little research. Including in that is a reading of at least a portion of the reviews previously posted. The Big Chill seems to have pulled in an inordinate number of reviews not only negative but often angry, and for a curious set of reasons: "the sets are cheap, the acting is dated and the conversation shallow." I don't agree.

This is a "Conversational Film," a true "Talkie," a film where the substance of history and idea and thought is delivered much more so by verbal interactions among the characters than by elaborate sets or expensive action sequences. It's a Time Capsule depicting a narrow segment of Collegiate Society. It could have just as easily been a group of Pre-Nursing Students, or a Bible Study/Buddhist Meditation/Holocaust Studies Group or just some Kids interested in Agri-Business. Mr Kasdan chose some young Radical Anarchist Wantabes who decided that some attempt at conformation was necessary in order to get along in The Cold World. Not all are pleased about it. One or two tried to be more faithful to the Ideal than the others but it was a costly choice: one becoming an almost constant user of recreational pharmaceuticals and the other becoming dead.

Neither am I bothered so much by the `missing flashback.' Mr Kasdan made an editorial decision with which I happen to agree. I find amusement in knowing that the exposed body parts (sans the face), whilst being prepared and included in the final version, belongs to Kevin Costner. It fits in with the black humor of it all, almost on the same level as someone auditioning for the part of Yorick in Hamlet.

There is wonderful nostalgia in this film! Why should we expect such a work, 23 years old, to align with current thinking? Why should we expect it to reflect the impatient and shallow Gen-X World or some middle-aged shriveled prune-head (me included) who can't or simply won't make allowances for others. We should relax a little and view it and enjoy it within the context of its own Time.

I for one would be delighted to see some of my college friends again; it's been 30-plus years. And if I should do so well as these guys, who so obviously love and care for each other, I'd consider it time and money and effort well spent.

But most of us would have had to have been there, I suppose.

Russell de Ville

8 March 2006
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Classic from Criterion, August 30, 2014
An 80's classic that invented the 'college friends get together after a horrible accident and reminisce to tunes of the era' genre. (Many argue it was actually John Sayle's RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN that did it first. Discuss...)
In any event, it was a labor of love. A pet project Lawrence Kasdan got bankrolled on goodwill after writing RETURN OF THE JEDI. (He used the same approach earlier making BODY HEAT after writing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK).
The movie is perfectly cast top to bottom. The music score became a hit record, and the film became a touchstone for Baby Boomers. I am not a Boomer, and I unabashedly love this film. I have since I saw it when I was 13. It really is about friendship and time, and how those things ebb and flow. Kasdan is one of our best screenwriters, and this was his calling card.(the STAR WARS TRILOGY and INDIANA JONES credits don't hurt either).
Criterion gives the Red Carpet Treatment again.
Some extras are ported over from previous DVD editions, but they do add newer interviews too.
Every cinephile should have this in their library.
**NOTE-yes, they talk about Kevin Costner being the dead one!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling moments when idealism freezes over, May 12, 2001
By 
Thomas Lapins (Orlando, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Idealist and radicals who not only seem to think humankind is God's (ha ha) special project but that these self-absorbed, affluent career graduates should be insulated from the ills and bumps of the real world. They can't understand why things haven't turned out as they were suppose to, after all, they were all so committed to solving the ills of "humanity". These educated, beautiful spirits are joined at the hips in friendship and comeraderie, consoling one another in their grief and broken dreams. They gather for a friend who has died, one of them is filthy rich and they all conveniently stay there, to cry and laugh and fight and be supportive of each other. The scary thing here is that I saw parts of me strolling across this widescreen. I knew it already but it really struck home, again, when I saw this for the first time on DVD. At first you think this story is sympathetic to the plight of these characters, then you realize the real point is the sappy, sentimental silliness of these characters who can't get past their "high ideals". They're filled with guilt and unfulfilled fantasies. They walk through this weekend in the worst kind of denial, constantly needing sex and support from one another. I hadn't seen "The Big Chill" for a couple of years. For me, it only gets better and more relevant with age. The acting and the actors are terrific. What a powerful cast of then unknowns who would go on to be superstars. If you're looking for an entertaining and thought-provoking movie, this fits the bill. I highly recommend it as your next DVD purchase.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing, June 1, 2008
By 
Bryan A. Pfleeger (Metairie, Louisiana United States) - See all my reviews
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When I first saw Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill I was a seventeen year old high school senior and I'll admit the story did not do a lot for me. Now, some twent-five years later after the idealism of youth fades into a daily grind the movie has much more meaning.

A group of seven friends plus the current girlfriend of the deceased gathers together on the weekend of the funeral of a friend who committed suicide. The friends feel that he had no real reason for what he did and are left searching for answers. In the three days that follow they must reexamine who they are and the choices that led them to this point in their lives.

The film features an incredible script written by Kasdan and Barbara Benedek and fine performances from its ensemble cast. The disc also includes a where are they now featurette and some deleted scenes. The film quality is good for a twenty five year old film even though the picture is a little soft. The sound has been remastered into Dolby 5.1 and comes across as crisp and clean.

This is a film for a more mature audience who understands the twists and turns of fate and of friendship. It is absolutely essential viewing.
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The Big Chill [Blu-ray]
The Big Chill [Blu-ray] by Tom Berenger (Blu-ray)
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