The Big Chill

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Year Released: 1983
Rating: 2.0

Despite a few promising moments filled with insight, most of this is a big slog, involving about eight thirty-somethings who have long since left college and their rebellious ways and succumbed to conformity and maturity. They all gather for the funeral of a mutual friend, who committed suicide - after his funeral, most simply make light of his death (perhaps masking their inner ability to deal with the tragedy, perhaps not) and, to me, it merely serves as only a plot point or a point of comparison for the cast; something to gab on about. Sure, the actors are good (especially Kevin Kline), and most of the dialogue is decent, but I honestly didn't get it: what is Kasdan trying to say? The life goes on? That suicide is a mystery? That movies without a sense of direction or any real meaning behind them can do well at the box office? If he was going for seriousness, he failed, and the title is a bit of a misnomer: no one appears to be completely shocked by the death, and Kasdan doesn't exactly play it as a melodrama (more as a pseudo-comedy). Scenes that could potentially lead to stark revelations and cutting dialogue - involving ways people deal with the concept of death - end quickly, and are undramatic, as if the writers bailed out of the material, opting to present the audience with more 'lighthearted' 'answers,' like out-of-place goofy sex scenes (the one between Mary Kay Place and Kevin Kline is so mindbogglingly moronic I couldn't quite believe it was in there ... does such a level of liberalism actually, well, exist?) as well as dancing in the kitchen while cooking dinner (who does this?). Perhaps what I'm saying is that taking characters and making them three-dimensional and putting them together in one house over a weekend and having them dance around and tell stories and reminisce doesn't make for a meaningful, elaborate film. One might say I'm too young (at 18) to appreciate it, and have yet to 'see myself' in any of the characters, and this might be true, but as it stands, right now, at my age, I am not impressed.