Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Oscar Movie Review: "The Big Chill" (1983)

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Movie"The Big Chill"
Year Nominated: 1984
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

A group of old college friends reunite for a weekend after the funeral for one of their friends who committed suicide.

The Academy Award nominated "The Big Chill" brings together an ensemble cast in this very personal dramedy about love, loss, and friendship, written by "Star Wars" co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. It stars Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Mary Kay Place, Jeff Goldblum, Meg Tilly, William Hurt, and JoBeth Williams. What a cast of characters! After the suicide of one of their friends, these seven college friends come together for the funeral and then spend the weekend together at the home of Harold and Sarah Cooper, played by Kline and Close. As is the case any time friends get together after a long period of not seeing each other, they reminisce about the times that have past and lament over their transformations from 60's political hippies into full blown 80's yuppies and/or wealthy suburbanites. This will resonate with most viewers because we have all changed at least a little bit from when we were younger, showing us that our young ideals of how we imagine things will be when we leave school and go out into the "real world" will rarely if ever line up to how things actually become as adults. Though this group is without a doubt filled with deep-seeded hatred and long-held resentments, unspoken love and uncovered secrets, they still remain friends though the trials and tribulations of life. "The Big Chill" is a film that we imagine strongly reflected the thoughts and feelings of the Baby Boom generation.

All of this drama and comedy is set against a backdrop of one of the most impressive and memorable classic rock and r&b soundtracks in movie history. Who can forget the scene as the group cleans up and dances to the sounds of The Temptations? Utterly divine soundtrack making. The acting is fabulous across the board, and with a cast like this film has, really, how could it not be? The dialogue is exceptional and the emotions are palatable, even by today's standards. Even though "The Big Chill" was nominated for 3 Oscars, including best picture, best actress (Glenn Close), and best screenplay, sadly, it walked away from the Oscars empty handed, though it did win an award from the Writers Guild of America for best comedy written for the screen. It definitely deserved some sort of writing accolades because in the end, you really come to care and feel for each of this movie's characters at least once, even if their problems were manufactured because of themselves and their actions. "The Big Chill" is definitely one of those movies everyone should watch at least once in their life. Though we saw it when we were younger and have seen re-watched it as adults, we certainly appreciate it more with age. It's a movie we can still pop in and enjoy, even today, despite its dramatic, mature themes and initial sadness.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"

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