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This surprise hit from writer/director Lawrence Kasdan focuses on a group of thirty-somethings who were close friends at college during the late 1960s who reunite for the funeral of one of the members of the old group after he inexplicably commits suicide. Spending the weekend at the summer home of Sarah (Glenn Close) and Harold (Kevin Kline), the happily married "glue" of the group, the friends examine their own lives and come to terms with the passing of time that has seen them all transform from idealistic free-spirited rebels to well-to-do members of the establishment they once detested. In the mix are Nick (William Hurt), a troubled Vietnam veteran with a drug habit; Sam (Tom Berenger), a successful Hollywood actor who questions his fame; Karen (JoBeth Williams), a bored housewife who carries a torch for Sam; Meg (Mary Kay Place), a cynical single lawyer who wants to be a mother; Michael (Jeff Goldblum), a People magazine reporter who once had ambitions of writing a great novel; and Chloe (Meg Tilly), the quirky younger girlfriend of the deceased who plays outside observer to the gathering. Featuring an exquisite ensemble cast, a crisp original screenplay and memorable hit soundtrack of period songs from the late 60s and early 70s, The Big Chill is a modern classic that helped express some of the discontent of a tumultuous and confused generation.


Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan and Barbara Benedek
Producer: Michael Shamberg
Cinematography: John Bailey
Art Direction: Ida Random
Editing: Carol Littleton
Cast: Harold (Kevin Kline), Sarah (Glenn Close), Meg (Mary Kay Place), Nick (William Hurt), Karen (JoBeth Williams), Sam (Tom Berenger), Michael (Jeff Goldblum), Chloe (Meg Tilly)
C - 105 min.

Why THE BIG CHILL is Essential

The Big Chill features a terrific top-notch ensemble cast with each actor getting the chance to shine individually along the way. Made up of actors who were all near the beginnings of their distinguished careers including Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Mary Kay Place, William Hurt, JoBeth Williams, Jeff Goldblum and Meg Tilly, the film showcased their remarkable talents and gave everyone's career a giant boost.

The structure of the film, along with its ensemble cast and focus on baby boomers, influenced numerous films and television shows that followed including the popular 1980s series Thirtysomething and the film Peter's Friends (1992) among others. Something about the tone of a core group of friends gathering to talk about life, love, ups and downs appealed to people, especially those of the same generation who could especially relate.

The incredible soundtrack to The Big Chill, made up of soulful late 60s/early 70s hits, is a character unto itself in the film. With popular music having the power to evoke specific times and places, it also has the ability to create the perfect mood, which is what this soundtrack accomplishes. With each carefully selected track, each scene takes on a deeper meaning, tapping into the nostalgic roots of its story. The soundtrack also struck a chord with contemporary audiences and became a huge hit, even spawning a soundtrack sequel featuring even more music from the film.The Big Chill became a contemporary classic that has endured through the years as it continues to speak to each new generation who finds something relatable to the themes of lost youth, idealism and the powerful bonds of friendship.

by Andrea Passafiume

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