Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

23 June 2009

The Big Chill, Revisited

I first saw The Big Chill in 2004 but I watched it again today in preparation for the Supporting Actress Smackdown on Sunday. Some impressions:

It has been five years but I always had the impression that all the characters were around thirty years old. Now that I am almost thirty, I don't think these guys look thirty at all. Kevin Kline and Glenn Close each look about thirty-five. The others too. Goldblum looks younger, but that could be because he is an idiot in this film. This may sound weird, but I think this perspective is because I felt like I had more in common with the people in this film five years ago than I do now. It's strange. I would think it would be just the reverse.

I am a big fan of Mary Kay Place still.

I always thought that Jeff Goldblum was really stupid in this movie, and I could never figure out why the other people in the movie had this idiot joker as their friend. This still makes no sense to me, but this time around I found myself really irritated in addition by Kevin Kline. I think the four women, Tom Berenger and William Hurt are fascinating in this movie, but Kline and Goldblum are, to me, almost completely lacking in interest.

William Hurt gives a brilliant performance in The Big Chill. Like, he is truly excellent in this picture. He would win an Oscar in '86 (three years later) for his flamboyant performance in Kiss of the Spider Woman, but his work in The Big Chill is subtle and nuanced and interesting.

This film is not about suicide.

...But I actually think there is something in the work that William Hurt does in the film that goes toward explaining their friend's suicide.

And I know everyone says this, but the soundtrack is still amazingly good. And the moment when JoBeth Williams plays the Rolling Stones on the organ is fabulous.