The English look at 'The Big Chill': METROLAND
All Red | USA | 02/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked the 1985 classic The Big Chill which took a look at "thirtysomething" America as it froze it's '60's free-spirit into a glacier of forgotten aspirations,then Metroland is worth your while.A simpler and more intimate film than it's American cousin,"Metroland" is the English equivalent of watching the hippie-dippy days of bell-bottomed pants,pot and free love melting into the frozen tundra of Bourgeoisieland- or so we are lead to believe.Simple in plot and heavy in truly adept acting,"Metroland" tells the story of the comfortable married life of Chris and Marion Lloyd (Christian Bale and Emily Watson),a young thirtyish couple in the middle class neighborhood of Edgewood.They have a child,successful careers and the "English garden".Sex is at least every other day.So, what could be the problem?
Chris' boyhood best-bud Toni arrives after ten absent years.Toni (a deliciously wicked Lee Ross) is still living the '60's radical ideals,and the two worlds of sell-out and love-in collide in very palpable ways.Chris is forced to question every choice he has made along the way;he once had aspiratins of being a Parisian photographer;he had a sexy and direct French paramour named Annick (Elsa Zylberstein of Immortal Beloved); Chris actually had developed a loathing of all that was English.WHAT HAPPENED?.Toni actively pursues Chris into rethinking all his choices and his marriage and family.
What makes this film so compelling is the uniformly outstanding performances by the four principle actors.Bale and Watson deliver positively knockout performances, as Siskel and Ebert noted.It's true!.The pain and anger that Chris and Marion confront is real.The question that this film raises is "Do we ever know if our decisions are right?" Like "The Big Chill","Metroland" is not a location,but a state of mind that suggests that being bourgeois is a cop-out for not living your dreams.Are you presently where you thought you would be 20 years ago-or are you restless and questioning? Are you sorry that you are in Metroland? Watch this film,then.
There is loads of sex and frontal nudity in this film,so be warned if you are provincial."