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on May 5, 2016
The BEST! This is considered a ''cult classic '' now, and should be, it is that good. Kevin Costner makes his movie début here, but we never know it, buy it and see why!
Just the Motown music from the 60's thru the late 70's time period is worth the price of the movie. The story takes place in eastern South Carolina in about 1983.The cast of characters reminiscence about their college graduation ten years before tells us more about this very successful group of friends.. We learn that not all of these relationships were platonic then, and may not be now. One character, played by a much younger and thinner Tom Brenner seems to be a copy of Tom Selleck as Magnum PII., or the Matt Houston, P.I. character...I can't remember the handsome actor for that one, but he seems modeled after him.
Meg Tilly plays the much younger girlfriend, and foil, for the rest of the friends. The cast is outstanding, the scenic homes and landscapes are beautiful, and the serious musings of this grown up bunch of Baby Boomers, about their lives gives us all some food for thought.
Each time I watch this I get more out of it. It is a true treasure, so treat yourself to this wonderful time period movie.
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There's something tirelessly appealing and true in the Big Chill for a great many of us as we mature a couple of decades past college and become true adults. The Big Chill addresses the realities of grown up life - home ownership, raising a family, having a real career, maintaining life long friendships based on bonds beyond the superficial, and trying to fit the existential questions about life/morality/love/justice in around everything else.

This is one of the few movies that can blend humor, sadness and a bunch of dialogue with no need for action or special effects. The stellar cast has a palpable charisma - Wlliam Hurt, Kevin Kline, Jo Beth Williams, Glenn doesn't get better. The soundtrack is tremendous and I have kept it on a regular rotation in my playlists for years.
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on June 12, 2016
When it hit the theaters, I really liked this movie about a reunion of individuals who forged their friendships in the tumultuous 60s and 70s and now confronted the different paths they have taken when they are reunited at the funeral of one of their friends. My own experience paralleled there's and I could imagine having some of the same feelings if thrown into similar circumstance.

I’ve always been a fan of Williams Hurt — and disappointed that he has done so little in the last decade or two — but his role as the sexually scarred veteran of the Vietnam conflict seemed even more relevant in light of the damage vets have experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was a good movie then and holds up well over 30 years later.
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on March 28, 2011
If you are thinking about buying this film, I urge you to do so. This is one of the best ensemble cast films out there. A group of eight college friends reunite 20 years later for the funeral of one of their inner-circle who has committed suicide. It is engaging to watch the interaction between the characters. This is well written and the soundtrack is to die for. This film is worthy of being watched over and over again.
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on November 29, 2012
I had to get The Big Chill on DVD, simply because it's one of my favourite movies from the 80's and I never get tired of watching it. Its themes are relatable to everyone my age (late 40s), it has one of the greatest soundtracks from any movie, and a superb cast that has gone on to create an amazing body of work.
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on June 28, 2015
This movie is in the VHS format so you'll need a VHS cassette player to view it. The sound track is excellent and the story line is relevant to people in real life situations. The actors seem to match their characters well. Overall, a fine old movie that I will enjoy watching over the years.
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on August 4, 2014
This film now goes onto the collectors list for me. When I first viewed the movie way back when, it hit home a bit more for me. It is more about me changing than the movie. If you have not seen this work of movie art, then you should. It is a great cast and I cannot remember them looking so very young. For me, a solid 4 stars.
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on December 19, 2012
I was feeling a little sentimental and ran across this film. I was just what I needed to remind myself - "you can't always get what you want". Still funny, and though not quite as touching as when I saw it 30 years ago, a reminder of a very different time.
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on July 30, 2014
This new Blu-Ray transfer is easily superior to any DVD incarnations of The Big Chill, preserving the texture of the film stock Kasdan used. In a nice touch, Criterion has offered two audio options: the original mono track and a 5.1 surround sound track that really showcases the film’s selection of memorable tunes from the ‘60s.

Included is a trailer for the film.

“Success in the System” is a new interview with writer/director Lawrence Kasdan who talks about working within the confines of Hollywood. He also talks about using his clout from writing successful screenplays for blockbuster films to write and director his own personal films. Naturally, he discusses the central themes of The Big Chill among other things.

“The Big Chill: A Reunion” is a 1998 retrospective documentary that runs just under an hour and features Kasdan and his cast reflecting back on the film. It takes us through the genesis of the project, including the origins of the film’s title. This documentary also takes us through the production in wonderful detail and it is great to see the cast speak admiringly of it.

“Thirtieth Anniversary Q&A” was held at the Toronto International Film Festival and featured Kasdan with key cast and crew members reminiscing about the film. This is a fun and engaging extra as everyone speaks highly of their experience on The Big Chill.

Finally, there are just over nine minutes of deleted scenes. Unfortunately, the flashback sequence with Kevin Costner that was cut by the studio is not included and it is pretty obvious why this footage was taken out.
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on March 8, 2006
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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