Review: ‘The Big Chill’

The Bill Chill is an amusing, splendidly-acted but rather shallow look at what's happened to the generation formed by the 1960s.

The Bill Chill is an amusing, splendidly-acted but rather shallow look at what’s happened to the generation formed by the 1960s.

Framework has seven old college friends gathering on the Southeastern seaboard for the funeral of another old pal, who has committed suicide in the home of happily-married Glenn Close and Kevin Kline.

Others in attendance are: sharp-looking Tom Berenger, who has gained nationwide fame as a Tom Selleck-type private eye on TV; Jeff Goldblum, horny wiseacre who writes for People magazine; William Hurt, the Jake Barnes of the piece by virtue of having been strategically injured in Vietnam; Mary Kay Place, a successful career woman who just hasn’t met the right man; and JoBeth Williams, whose older husband returns home to the two kids before the weekend has barely begun.

Also provocatively on hand is Meg Tilly, much younger girlfriend of the deceased who doesn’t react with sufficient depth to the tragedy in the eyes of the older folk.

Except perhaps for Hurt, who still takes drugs heavily and is closest in personality to the dead man [played by Kevin Costner, but edited out of the finished film], characters are generally middle-of-the-roaders, and pic lacks a tough-minded spokesman who might bring them all up short for a moment.

1983: Nominations: Best Picture, Supp. Actress (Glenn Close), Original Screenplay

The Big Chill


Carson/Columbia. Director Lawrence Kasdan; Producer Michael Shamberg; Screenplay Lawrence Kasdan, Barbara Benedek; Camera John Bailey; Editor Carol Littleton; Music John Williams; Art Director Ida Random


(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 103 MIN.


Tom Berenger Glenn Close Jeff Goldblum William Hurt Kevin Kline JoBeth Williams
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