The Big Chill
College-reunion film with mature themes may bore teens.
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The Big Chill
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Big Chill includes a lot of frank discussion of sex. There are two sex scenes that clearly imply what's going on but aren't graphic, and one character is seen naked in the shower with one breast shown. There's quite a bit of profanity, including "s--t" and "f--k." Suicide is discussed, and the sewn-up injuries on the victim's corpse are briefly glimpsed. Snorting cocaine, smoking marijuana, and taking Quaaludes are shown along with drinking wine and beer, mostly with dinner and afterward. The story of college friends who reunite after 15 years is unlikely to hold much interest for teens as the characters relive old times and talk about how it influenced where they find themselves now.
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What's the Story?
A group of college friends (Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, and JoBeth Williams) are reunited for a funeral when one of them commits suicide. They decide to spend the weekend together revisiting past loves, discovering new ones, and coming to grips with all the ways their lives have taken unexpected turns.
Is It Any Good?
THE BIG CHILL is a loving, bittersweet look at how lives change during the transition from young adulthood to middle age. As such, it's unlikely to hold the interest of teens more focused on great expectations. The cast is outstanding, all quietly bringing tremendous depth to the subtlest moments. Adults will relate, but teens will find little in common with the characters in a movie that almost entirely consists of watching them talk to each other over the course of a weekend reunion. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote and directed, deftly balances and weaves the intertwining stories and gives us a loving, but not rose-colored, look at how surprising it is to realize you're a grown-up.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how attitudes toward drinking, smoking, and taking drugs have changed, both since the time the characters would have been in college together in the late '60s and since the movie was made in the early '80s.
Do you have a group of close friends? Can you imagine getting together with them 15 years from now? What do you think that would be like?
Do you know anyone, or have you yourself, thought about suicide? Do you know where to go for help?
- In theaters: August 28, 1983
- On DVD or streaming: January 26, 1999
- Cast: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline
- Director: Lawrence Kasdan
- Studios: Columbia Pictures, Carson Productions
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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