The Big Chill

I’ve found my new favorite movie. It’s true.

This is the kind of movie I’ve been waiting for. The kind that inspires me to write one of my own, to think about my own life, to develop characters, to appreciate my friends more, everything. It’s one of those movies that comes along quietly, makes its perfect impression, and then it’s over.

My parents love this movie, too, and I think they had mentioned it to me several times before, and I really get it now. Of course, all the Michigan references are particularly special to a child of parents from the mitten state, but there’s more to it than that. We don’t learn much about the characters in this movie, factually speaking, but we get to know them really, really well. Tom Berenger as Sam Weber is fed up wit his Hollywood life, Kevin Kline as Harold Cooper is just trying to do good in the world, Mary Kay Place as Meg is justifying her decision to have a child alone, William Hurt as Nick is coping with intense PTSD and impotence, and Karen is still in love with Sam from college. Oh, and then there’s Jeff Goldblum and Glenn Close. I love them as actors, though I didn’t think either of their parts were that big a deal. But they are still awesome. Moving on.

They all reunite for a terrible reason—their friend Alex committed suicide—but they have this singular 48-hour experience in a cabin that can’t ever happen again. They reconnect effortlessly after being away from college for 15 years, they skip all the catchup bullshit, and they just exist as people. It’s beautiful, and it’s also incredibly normal and real-feeling. I spend a lot of my time with friends I’ve had for 10 years, so seeing this movie brought me great comfort, knowing how precious close, long friendships really are.

This movie will do many things for you: It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll make you want to listen to Motown when you do the dishes (and pretty much any other time, for that matter). Mostly, it’ll make you love your friends even more. I’m glad this movie got the Oscar nomination. More great films like this need to emerge from the dramedy darkness.