- Glenn Close and Jeff Goldblum
- Plot Progression
Producers: Lawrence Kasdan, Marcia Nasatir, Barrie M. Osbourne, Michael Shamberg
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan and Barbara Benedek
Actors: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum
Cinematography: John Bailey
Music: Meg Kasdan
Editing: Carol Littleton
My mom was telling me that she used to really love this movie, The Big Chill. She was saying that she saw it with her brother and they went back and watched it a second time on the same night! I’ve only done that one other time, and I can still watch that movie over and over without fail. So I decided to check it out, seeing as how it came out in the early 80s (1983 to be exact) I figured it should be pretty easy to track down. I was correct and now I can see what all her hype was about.
This Lawrence Kasdan classic features Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, and Jeff Goldblum as three of a group of seven old college friends brought together by a passing of the group’s member, who killed himself in Sarah Cooper’s (Glenn Close) downstairs bathroom. The movie starts at the funeral and moves to Sarah and her husband’s house, where the old friends all start catching up and revisiting old memories.With the aid of drugs and booze they dance along to the best of the late 70s and early 80s. Throughout the film we are shown how each character deals with the death of their friend. I won’t say it made me cry, but it did make me laugh out loud; I can see why it’s my mom’s favorite.
Glenn Close and Jeff Goldblum
As the only two actors that I recognized, I was drawn more to them than the other characters. Glenn Close was just as amazing at the beginning of her career as she is today, and her energy transfers to the other actors. Jeff Goldblum is the cutest. I’ve only ever experienced him as the salt and peppered detective in Law and Order, and the dinosaur doctor in Jurassic Park. It was very interesting to see these actors in their youth the way they were cast before the industry typecasted them. Close plays Sarah, a woman who lacks the strength of her usual characters (e.g., Cruella Deville or the terrifying and powerful lawyer in Damages). She is softer and more mild mannered in this flick, but maintains her brilliant strength and stands out among the cast. Goldblum’s character is a funny guy, looking for investors. His comedic timing is captivating, and he might have made me laugh the hardest.
Costumes and Soundtrack
Costume designer, April Ferry, didn’t have to work too hard to create a believable wardrobe for the early 80s. All the colors and patterns are very distinct, as well as the silhouettes that were wildly popular at the time. The natural look that she gave each character fit absolutely perfectly with their personality, and it is very difficult to create the feeling of them being real people. With a soundtrack that went 6x Platinum a full six years after the movie released, I was singing along and bobbing my head the whole time. Featuring Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Band, and The Beach Boys, they couldn’t go wrong. The era that this movie was produced was truly a special time for music, and they use each song as part of the backbone of the plot. I noticed that almost every time music was cued in, it was because someone in the movie turned it on,whether it was a record player or the car radio. What an incredible way to include the soundtrack! The cast was always interacting with the music, singing and dancing in the same sense that I was.
The Not As Good:
The plot moved a little slow for me, and would drag out certain scenes much longer than they needed to be. I’ve seen enough movies from that era to know that is how things were done back then, but as a member of this generation I still find it to get a little boring at times. It takes a very long time for the meat of the story to even come out, which could be very off putting if you aren’t invested in watching. While still keeping you entertained with small conversations and one of the main characters rolling up a joint during the wake, it took about 25-30 minutes before any real action occurred. I can’t say that I disliked how slow it was completely because it mimics how long it takes the friends to get reacquainted and warmed up to each other.
Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5
If you are looking for a blast from the not so distant past, I urge you to check this one out. With such a strong approval rating from my mom, I would say if you are looking for a good light hearted movie for the family The Big Chill is the film for you.