The Big Chill

June 25, 2014

Perhaps the most confrontational to the questing – or lack thereof – of the Last Man arrives at the swelling tide of the consequences of finding vapidity in material pursuits. And that arrival is in the form of The Big Chill. Almost immediately, the viewer must appreciate the high-selectivity of the social class presented. They are affirmatively bourgeois, leveraging the higher pursuits of intellect toward their self-involvement in the machinery of capitalism. But first, before recognizing the emptiness being highly specialized and therefore special cogs that they are, their introduction to each other is conducted through higher education. This is all to say that the film speaks to a very small audience, i.e. it may not have mass appeal because the masses don’t have the fortune to be disappointed in being fortunate.


Nevertheless, this is the perfect diorama to scrutinize a soulless organization or order of society’s being. Indeed, in the wake of their former close friend’s suicide, nary a mention of God is raised. There is no divination speculation; something even a generation prior would be raised, if even as a mere formality. The empty ghost of God barely raises a whisper, as each friend in this reunion exposes their Achilles heel in each of their respective lives. For better or for worse, their lives have not turned out as planned. Even accomplishing prosperity is a problem. And it is trivial to see why: after the hope of the strident and striving immigrant to the shores of America is finally captured, at least a generation upstream, what else is left to conquer? Thus, the proletarian basis of American society runs into a brick wall once its narrow-mindedness achieves its ends.


For those on the outside looking in, as we can speculate was the case with the suicide, there is the tension in unable to attain such material comfort wherein life’s important questions which were left unanswered now start to nag and nip as they lay latent, burrowed in the nest of the human condition. The proletariat endeavors relentlessly for that comfort, because the majority of them do not feel the struggle with existence. It could well be because they were never educated to.


Thus, a highly trained intellect, as demonstrated by the sampling of adults in The Big Chill, leads them inevitably toward this conflict, between what their society values, and what is truly worth valuing.


Grade: A



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