Nostalgia Comes Cold-Calling.
College friends reunite for the suicide funeral of one of their clique; separated for years, mildly estranged and rediscovering each other like diaries in an attic.
THE BIG CHILL is a chick-flick clothed in tracksuit pants (i.e. a kind of Introspective Guy Flick).
Married couple Kevin Kline and Glenn Close host a weekend sleepover for their friends who attended the funeral: journalist Jeff Goldblum (trying to seduce the dead friend’s girl – Meg Tilly); war vet William Hurt, who is seduced by Mary Kay Place (looking for a sperm donor); TV star Tom Berenger seducing old flame Jobeth Williams, who’s in a loveless marriage, just waiting to be seduced; and this little piggy went whee whee whee all the way home…
Lord help us all if we didn’t somehow relate to these 1980-something characters, with their yuppie elitism and consumerist élan; once insurrectionists and anti-establishmentarians, now forced to accept the fact that their fashionable mid-life careers are anything but revolutionary.
Self-analytical to a fault, THE BIG CHILL is yet oddly compelling due to intelligent dialogue and a flawless ensemble cast, every character examining their purpose in life and, in the course of a big weekend chillax session, apparently discovering it. Yet, too much introspection with our best friends – delving so deep into pseudo-meaning that everything loses meaning – and we’ll all be slashing our wrists.
This movie reminds us that our most cherished friends are those whom we created before we created ourselves; they spurred our shape-shift into what we would become. Only those experienced enough to have been separated from good friends and to come back to them in a talky embrace would appreciate this movie’s construction. Hence THE BIG CHILL’s over-arching nostalgic poignancy, as we realize the person with whom we are watching it is not one of those initiates. Got news for you: they’re thinking the same thing.