For people of a certain age, there’s no movie quite like The Big Chill. The 1983 film was a sort of coming-of-age story aimed at baby boomers, instead of teens. The story follows seven college friends who have since grown up and grown apart. 15 years after graduation, they gather together for the funeral of one of their friends at a gorgeous home in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Fueled by new grief, old slights, and long-simmering emotions, the once close-knit group of friends talk, reconnect, and sort through their past. They drink, dance through the kitchen to The Temptations, and reminisce on the front porch under Southern skies. (Fun fact: The friend whose funeral they are attending was played by Kevin Costner, but his scenes were cut out of the final version and he never actually appeared in the movie!)
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The friends gathered for the funeral in an antebellum beauty that was ostensibly the summer home of the characters played by Glenn Close and Kevin Kline. In real life, the 7,300-square-foot house, known as both The Edgar Fripp house and Tidalholm, was built in 1853 and sits right on the banks of the Beaufort River. The seven-bedroom Italianate house is wrapped in a glorious porch where much of the film’s most intense conversations take place. The porch is the perfect place to sit and admire the property’s expansive grounds. The home rests on 1.38 acres of land, which includes the main house as well as a two-bedroom guest cottage, which was rented out to Costner’s character in the movie. The home has the original flooring, millwork, and plaster moldings, but had reportedly fallen into a state of disrepair. Not that the tourists who swing past the place seem to mind it as they stand at the gates snapping photos of the Old South and Hollywood history. The Big Chill wasn’t the first time that Hollywood came to Beaufort—the house was also featured in the 1979 film The Great Santini, based on the novel by Southern author, Pat Conroy.
In 2017, the home was sold for $1.7 million, according to the Island Packet and the new owner was working to restore the home to its former glory. With work slated to be finished by the fall, Hollywood has once again come calling. This time, though, the house won’t be the backdrop for the drama, but the star itself. Inspired by his love of The Big Chill, documentarian Matthew Miele hopes to make a film about Tidalholm’s history in Hollywood and as a Southern landmark. and he hopes that Beaufort County residents and anyone else who has a Tidalholm story to tell will reach out to him.