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The Big Chill (1983)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 21,731

My Rating

Movie Info

A re-release of the 1983 classic. The gathering of old college friends for a funeral brings out their real personalities.

Jan 26, 1999

Columbia Pictures

Watch It Now


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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (11) | DVD (8)

Characters are generally middle-of-the-roaders, and pic lacks a tough-minded spokesman who might bring them all up short for a moment.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An irresistibly satisfying cultural artifact.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is no place for depth or nuance in this slickly engineered complacency machine.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (3)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Funny and ferociously smart.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's perceptive, affectionate and often very funny.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has all the right moves. It knows all the right words. Its characters have all the right clothes, expressions, fears, lusts and ambitions. But there's no payoff and it doesn't lead anywhere.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (2)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even if the film isn't timeless, the soundtrack certainly is.

August 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

...even though it's aware of their narcissism, The Big Chill still views its characters sympathetically, even when they do little to invite much sympathy themselves.

July 28, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

An always entertaining and perceptive film that hardly ever lapses into sentimentality.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

An entertaining look at the 80s embourgeoisement of 60s student activists steers skillfully between social satire and sentiment.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Strong acting and a string of classic rock and soul tunes make up for a superficial script.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

More significant sociologically than artistically, Kasdan's portrait of the Baby Boom generation--the Yuppie--is a zeitgeist film that is enjoyable due to strong ensemble acting and popular tunes.

February 2, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Shallow nostalgia-trip flick.

February 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A truly unforgettable motion picture, with a killer soundtrack

March 24, 2005

A thoroughly entertaining, fluid and wonderfully relaxed movie that delivers some of the finest ensemble acting to be seen on the screen for years.

August 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Three words: 'yadda, yadda, yadda.'

June 11, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

The ease with which the group falls back into their old patterns of trust and familiarity after an awkwardly long period of separation is narratively convenient, but not really probable.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Overrated, but good character study

August 7, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Great cast, phenomenal soundtrack, B+ screenplay.

July 25, 2002

Audience Reviews for The Big Chill

Review coming to
August 5, 2014

Super Reviewer

Although I don't think The Big Chill actually works as a realistic character piece, it does have a certain something about it that makes it somewhat irresistible. The premise is great, full of possibilities, so I quite like the fact that nothing much really happened as I can believe that. The ending however is fairly unbelievable and I'm not sure it really works, in fact it contradicts most of what we've learned during the film but I think originality wins through this time. It shouldn't work, I'm not sure it does, maybe there is something of a 80s acceptability about it but I liked it. It works for not working, if that makes any sense at all?
March 3, 2014

Super Reviewer

A perfect hang-out film: one of the movies you revisit just to say hi again to some old friends.

A far-fetched as all hell non-ending leaves a bit of a sour taste.
August 19, 2013
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

Until the second half, this film is great. We get to know the characters and we start to understand the tensions that have long existed between them, the way this group of old friends reunited for one member's funeral has changed over time and may not be what it once was. The sense of loss is compelling, and the prospect for rediscovery and rebirth sucks you in, but in the end I walked away disappointed. I can't say for sure why, but everything seemed to get stagier as the ending approached, and aside from a pithy reality check from William Hurt's character, nothing really comes of it all. Some characters get closer to getting what they've wanted and struggled to find all these years, but mostly, it just fades away again, and not in any way that makes an impact or makes you think about this scene. I'm told that, as someone born in the 80s, this film isn't really for me - that it's something that Boomers identified much more with. It's searching for that dirty realism of Last Picture Show or a Raymond Carver story, the hard business of day-to-day life, but once the enticing exposition finishes, you realize that the stakes are pretty low. I was kind of wishing that they all find the stiff's long-lost treasure map or the draft of his novel, or something, but you get the sense that when the characters leave this place, though they'll realize how much they've changed since they were young, the time they spent here probably won't change them at all... and thus, in the end, the films lets you down, failing to provide that "and this is why it matters" punch in the gut that "small stories" have to.
October 4, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Meg: I feel terrible. The last time I spoke with Alex we had a fight. I yelled at him.
    2. Nick: That's probably why he killed himself.
    – Submitted by Mark H (24 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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