Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Big Chill - would you press the rewind button of life?

Just to keep the April ‘Fashion passes me by’ theme going – Qantas has an inflight “Encore” movie section that screens past Oscar winners, a complete boon for people like me who are guaranteed to have missed the Movie of the Year first time round. Obviously I was spoilt for choice in terms of films I’ve never got around to watching, but plumped for “The Big Chill”.

When I was at university in the 80’s, I had a friend who introduced me to the soundtrack of “The Big Chill” along with that of ‘Stand by Me’, and I’ve always loved the music from both films, although in a rare finger on the pulse moment I actually watched “Stand by Me’ when it first came out.

I knew the background story to “The Big Chill’ was based around a group of university friends, now in their late thirties I’m guessing, who gather for a weekend following the funeral of one of the group who has committed suicide. I’m actually quite glad I never got around to watching it first time round as perhaps it is one of those mid life movies you need to watch when you can empathise with things like those close university friendships you never quite loose despite love, marriage, children, years and paunches and people’s lives not turning out as expected. There is something about those type of friendships you make in your late teens and early twenties, a type of shared history and residual fondness that holds you together in a way that’s difficult to replicate later on in life. Watching the movie, I thought of my own group of university friends and tried to imagine us reunited for a weekend – though I couldn’t quite decide who I was going to pick as the unfortunate suicide whose funeral is going to draw us all back together, but I did quite fancy a weekend all holed up together in tastefully decorated American house with a young Meryl Streep as the hostess with the mostest. But perhaps the real message of the film is that at the end of the weekend all the characters pick up and go back to their normal lives, albeit it with a few twists. They don’t decide to keep going in a nostalgic, back to student days type commune because in the end you can't go back.

I’ve just bought the soundtrack as my own private wallow in sentimental nostalgia and the Drama Queens are just going to have to live with their mother reliving her auditory youth at top volume, for after all what other way is there to play such greats as “I Heard It Through the Grape Vine” and “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”?


  1. Did you know the suicide victim is Kevin Costner?

    Yesterday my 16 year old had a friend round who was the most brilliant pianist and singer. She played "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mac and they were amazed to hear me singing along, knowing all the words, in the kitchen. (Those were my teen memories.) I'm still singing it and now everyone's begging me to find something else to warble.

    1. Hi Expat Mum, completely failed to spot Kevin in his corpse role! Will now be rolling out this fact with glee at slightest opportunity in hopes of establishing my movie buff reputation.

  2. For reasons unknown, (but definitely nothing to do with lax parenting), our 12 year old son has taken to singing "Sex Bomb" by Tom Jones. In an unsuccessful effort to stop him, I started singing along in my raunchiest voice, with acomplanying hip swivels. Guess who ended up looking the silliest?

    1. Hi K, Happy to join you in the hip swivels. Have discovered quickest method of clearing house of all teenagers, both own and visiting, is to start any form of parental dancing. For some reason sight of their mother strutting her stuff is enough to ensure rapid exit.