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George Roy Hill
Mary Beth Hurt,
A seminal Thirty-Something movie in which a group of old college friends who are now all grown up and hardened by the big wide world come together for the funeral of Alex, a barely glimpsed corpse, who was at one time the brightest and the best of them, and yet who never managed to achieve half as much as any of the others. The friends use the occasion to reacquaint themselves with each other and to speculate as to what happened to their idealism which had been abundant when they were younger. Written by
Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
The perfect soundtrack, the perfect cast, the perfect script...a wonderful movie.
As a member of Gen-X having just revisited this movie after several years, I have to say that the soundtrack took me down "memory lane" in a big way, and may be one of the best things about The Big Chill. My generation's experience with this music is very different than that of my parents', having been force-fed Three Dog Night, The Band, and all the rest as a young child. It remains a part of my psyche, buried deep in the most obscure and remote of my memories. It was fantastic to hear those songs again, in spite of how much my taste in music has changed over the years. A classic is a classic, and the soundtrack is LOADED with them. Music can make or break a movie, and in The Big Chill, the music is an integral part of the film, as important as the cast, the writing and the directing. Its hard to imagine different music, just as it's hard to imagine a different cast. The songs weave in and out of the movie as easily and naturally as the subplots weave in and out of the story.
22 years after being dragged to this movie by my parents (who LOVED it), I remain pleasantly surprised at what a good movie it is as a whole, and how much more I liked it as an adult. The acting is brilliant. The writing is excellent. The directing is fantastic. Everything snaps into place in ways that keep you from getting bored, irritated, or otherwise turned off. Sometimes melodramatic, sometimes hilarious, the characters are well-constructed by the writer(s) and beautifully brought to life by the cast. Two hours fly by without dragging, down time, misfires or backfires. The story unfolds in 1983 with a crew of Baby Boomers, college friends brought back together by tragedy, taking stock in their lives as they get reacquainted with each other after many years have passed. The story may be dated, but anyone, no matter their "generation," can find something to relate to in this film. The interpersonal relationships, the individual journeys, and the self-reckoning that comes with the death of a friend... all of us can grasp these concepts and drink them in, get lost in them, feel the pain, and feel the joy. We can relate to it because its themes are timeless... love, loss, sadness, joy, growing up and getting older. This happens to us all.
My only real criticism of this picture would be that once in a while the film was a little too poignant and too depressing for my tastes, but only for brief moments. It could be that no one else who sees this film will agree with me, or even notice. That's fine. Opinions...we all have them. For me, it went a little overboard, just a smidgen. This is the only reason I did not give this movie a 10. It is still a wonderful movie. Some might suggest that this "going overboard" was what made the movie effective. It was effective, very much so, but for me it was a bit too much from time to time. Once in a while, my heart strings need a rest.
However, the music remains the most memorable part of the film. I had to look The Big Chill up on the internet to be reminded of the general story line, but the music has stayed with me all these years, and will remain with me, from the first notes of Joy to the World through the rest of the soundtrack and back. I would watch this movie again, and recommend it to anyone, no matter how cynical they are or what generation they belong to. Its that good.
23 of 30 people found this review helpful.
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