If the 60s ushered in a new kind of generational identification, then the early 80s might be expected to usher in a new kind of generational nostalgia - and it's this ambivalent nostalgia that The Big Chill sets out to explore. As a result, the film doesn't merely depict characters coming to terms with their past, but with a new conception of the past; or, rather, with a new conception of the future, as if the most surprising challenge to the Baby Boomer project were the fact that a future could exist at all, or at least a future as recognisable as this one. The narrative centers on a group of estranged friends (Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Mary Kay Place, JoBeth Williams) who gather for the funeral of one of their former peers, Alex, and then decide to spend the weekend together. Although there's a great deal of speculation on the reason for Alex's suicide, all of it deflects the unspeakable possibility that it was a response to just this recognition that the Baby Boomer generation weren't the first and last 'generation', as well as the accompanying possibility that his gesture was so much masturbation, "the ultimate act of self-absorption". Positioning his characters between a past they can't recover, and a future they can't acknowledge, Kasdan creates an exquisite chamber drama in which nobody can quite look anybody directly in the eye - unless via alcohol, drugs, or the omnipresent camcorder - creating a spectrum of unsatisfied sight-lines whose "vibrations" are mistaken for sexual ambience, but speak to something darker, and more pervasive. It's this quality that drives his script, which eloquently anticipates a certain middle-age Baby Boomer couplespeak: cynicism presented as knowing, conspiratorial playfulness, self-hatred as self-mythologisation. In the end, it's the iconic soundtrack which offers the most uncomplicated eulogy, not only because it's exclusively selected from the late 60s and before - speaking to the characters' residual fantasy that the 70s never happened, even as the ensemble cast and dispersed moodiness squarely identifies it as a 70s film - but because that selection captures a certain melancholy-apocalyptic 60s mentality, as if to conjure up a soundscape that knew that someday, somehow, it would always come to this.