Blu-Ray Review: The Big Chill

Lawrence Kasdan was undoubtedly one of the most influential voices in the American film industry during the 1980s and 1990s. He’s probably best known as a screenwriter, working on the likes of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi and The Bodyguard. However, he has also adapted a number of his own scripts for the big screen. Along with Body Heat and Silverado, The Big Chill is up there with his best.

Sarah (Glenn Close) and Harold Cooper (Kevin Kline) are welcoming old friends into their home, but it’s a shame it’s not in happier circumstances. Their good friend Alex has committed suicide and the group have returned for the funeral. A TV star (Tom Berenger), a journalist (Jeff Goldblum), an attorney (Mary Kay Place), a washed-up former radio psychologist (William Hurt) and a writer (JoBeth Williams). They’re here to support the deceased’s girlfriend (Meg Tilly) and try to understand why he did it.

The Big Chill uses its ensemble cast superbly to create both a spiky and life affirming comedy drama. This is largely thanks to Kasdan’s own clever use of dialogue and scything comments, as well as a number of playful one-liners. Goldblum in particular seems to revel in the sleaziness of his character. The Big Chill is a bittersweet film. One which doesn’t shy away from personal faults but also looks for the greater goodness.


  • Restored 4K digital film transfer, supervised by director of photography John Bailey and approved by director Lawrence Kasdan, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Alternate remastered 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Interview with Kasdan
  • Reunion with cast and crew from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, including Kasdan, actors Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams,
  • Documentary from 1998 on the making of the film
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by writer and filmmaker Lena Dunham and a 1983 piece by critic Harlan Jacobson

The Big Chill is released on Blu-ray in the UK as part of the Criterion Collection on 28 August.

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