STAY CLASSY: The Big Chill

the big chill

BY EMILY GAGNE

How It Fared Back Then: This Lawrence Kasdan dramedy, which follows a group of old friends (Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Wiliam Hurt, Mary Kay Place, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, JoBeth Williams) who come together for a weekend after one of the gang (an unseen Kevin Costner) suddenly passes away, was pretty well beloved by critics and audiences upon its 1983 release. It didn’t win any Oscars, but it was nominated for three (Best Supporting Actress for Close, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture) and did take home the People’s Choice Award at that year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Why It’s Lasted: It’s a universal tale, tackling issues of both life and death via relatable, real-life humour and those weekend party tropes (spontaneous recreational pot smoking, hook-ups, binge eating) we all love.

Classic Moments:

  • The funeral, which is set to, hilariously and touchingly, The Rolling Stones classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
  • The dishwashing scene, which sees the group dancing to “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Get ready for Kline getting down with his BAD SELF (see below).
  • The controversial — maybe I’m just a prude? — ending, which sees two characters making a fairly huge sacrifice for the happiness of another one.

Does It Hold Up? I think so, but I also have a certain genetic attachment to it, as my mother has always praised it to the stars to me. (You should have seen my face when one of my high school friends called it, and I quote, The Big Bore.) I’m a sucker for nostalgia of any sort, even if it outdates my generation, as well, and this film perfectly personifies those feelings, especially when it comes to friendship.

There’s a reason why this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is hosting a much talked-about 30th anniversary screening and Q&A. After all these years, it’s hard not to warm up to the simple style and complex emotions of The Big Chill.

The Big Chill reunion hits the Toronto International Film Festival Thursday September 5, 2013 (6 p.m, Princess of Wales). 

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