Sunday, 21 June 2009

Glenn Close in The Big Chill

The second woman up for discussion is the only actress who had been nominated before of the lot.

Glenn Close in The Big Chill

Glenn Close is my second favourite living actress (to Annette Bening), even though neither of them is doing any regular work…on the silver screen. I remember clearly the first time that I saw The Big Chill. I loved it. I’d always heard about The Big Chill, and I though it mean chill as in fright, not as in hanging out… so I was expecting a horror film – or a thriller at least. Obviously, I was wrong. The Big Chill tells the story of a group of former college friends who spend a weekend together after the suicide of one of their clan. Apparently this movie is about the baby boomer generation, but as an eleven year old this was completely lost on me when I saw this showing one night on TV, and to this day I didn’t really see that as a major theme.

For me, the movie is essentially about friendship and how it changes over time. The cast is pretty much an ensemble. Upon my first viewing three cast members stood out for Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum and of course Glenn Close. I am prepared to stand by my belief that (other than the great soundtrack) Glenn was the best thing in this GREAT movie (followed closely by the screenplay and then the rest of the cast). I saw this movie at a time when I knew Glenn for three roles – Cruella De Ville, Countess Merteuil and Alex. Sarah was miles away from any of these three women. She and Kevin Kline have great chemistry as husband and wife – in fact the entire cast has a decidedly realistic chemistry with each other.

Glenn Close is really the heart of The Big Chill, it's such a clich├ęd thing to say, but she really is. She was really at her peak in the 1980s and although I love her at her macabre best later in the decade she was outstanding playing such a sweet character. There are some obvious moments that stand out as good acting, like the famous shower scene and of course the tug-of-war when she allows her friend to sleep with her husband. That plot point is actually kind of strange. To keep it simple Meg (Mary Kay Place) is unmarried and wants a child so Sarah lets her husband sleep with her. I guess there was no such thing as a sperm donor back then. The scene where Sarah gives her husband away is really subtle and nice and good acting on Glenn's part.

For me though, why I love this performance is less about cetain moments and more about the alacrity with which Glenn is able to deliver her lines. She is just so fluid as Sarah, not only the big scene stealing moments, but all around. That is a good performance.
Karen: I don't know how you're holding up but everything's just beautiful.
Sarah: Yeah we put on a great funeral here.
Michael: [sarcastically] Yeah, maybe I'll have mine here.
Sarah: Well we give first priority to those who kill themselves in one of our bathrooms.
[the three stop smiling]
Sarah: That was a terrible thing to say... I don't know why I said that.
This is up at IMDB as one of the memorable quotes, and it is always one of the scenes I remember immediately about this film.

The Big Chill was my favourite film of 1982, I know I may stand alone, but I feel it was way better than the other dramedy that year – and a few of the men in it (especially Tom Berenger ROBBED of an Oscar nomination) could have gone toe to toe with Jack Nicholson (who gave his best supporting performance two years earlier in Reds). In case you did not notice as yet I LOVE THIS MOVIE and I love all the performances in it... but most of all I love Glenn Close.

1 comment:

MrJeffery said...

I love this movie too! The writing and the choice of songs are excellent. And Glenn Close is great in it.