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USA 1983
Directed by
Lawrence Kasdan
103 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Big Chill

The Big Chill is an iconic but over-rated Zeitgeist film featuring early appearances by many of the staple names of the 1980's & '90s (notably Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum and Tom Berenger). The story concerns a group of well-fed baby boomers and former alumni of the University of Michigan who are brought together for a weekend of reminiscing about their lost youth and 60s idealism by the funeral and wake of the apparent mainstay of their group who has inexplicably committed suicide (Kevin Costner plays the dead man, seen only under the opening titles)

The film received three Academy Award nominations - for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close)  - but won none. Setting aside the '80s fondness for pastel coloured knitwear and blow-waved hair and Kevin Kline’s short shorts it is mildly enjoyable although the breast-beating self-examination is too glibly handled for the film to have much in the way of dramatic credibility. However the nature of the beast is that lightweight nostalgia sells well and with the help of a tip-top golden oldies soundtrack it was a smash hit in its day.

FYI: The subject was much better done by John Sayles in Return Of The Secaucus Seven (1980),




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