Music from the Big House - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Music from the Big House Reviews

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Top Critic
Benjamin Mercer
Village Voice
May 29, 2012
It finally feels too cautious, as if digging a little deeper might compromise the prevailing tone of tentative uplift.
Justin Strout
Orlando Weekly
July 11, 2012
Music from the Big House middles along as a formless, touristy showcase for Chiarelli.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Brian Orndorf
Blu-ray.com
September 27, 2014
The philosophical and therapeutic value of Chiarelli's mission remains intact, but the moment Music from the Big House reveals its manipulation, it immediately deflates.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
April 5, 2012
McDonald's film ultimately boils down to being just another competent but slightly dull prison doc, albeit a toe-tapping one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
John Anderson
Variety
April 4, 2011
The performances are fun, if musically only adequate -- there are no evident virtuosi languishing within Angola's walls -- and Chiarelli's attempts to frame matters philosophically fall a little flat.
Top Critic
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
June 15, 2012
Even with a gripping subject like blues-singing convicts, the documentary "Music from the Big House" has a disconcerting emotional distance.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Nicolas Rapold
New York Times
June 3, 2012
[It] gets across a general notion of music as universal solace. But the filmmakers hesitate at going deeper into the dark places of the prisoners' biographies and the storied prison itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
March 25, 2011
This is utterly sincere, and there is lasting value in getting violent men to turn their energies to peaceful expression: "When you're singing, you're not angry," Chiarelli says.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
September 12, 2012
How do we reconcile the horror of their crimes with the humanity of their music? "Big House" could have gone much deeper in tackling this question, but it does open the door.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
June 5, 2012
Don't look for Elvis in this stark musical doc set in a maximum security prison.
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