Music from the Big House (2012)


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Movie Info

In Music from the Big House, Rita Chiarelli, Canada's Queen of the Blues, takes a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the blues, Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary a.k.a Angola Prison - what used to be the bloodiest prison in America. Rita's trip turns into a historic jailhouse performance - playing with inmates serving life sentences. Their shared bond of music, and Chiarelli's vivacious personality, draw striking revelations from the inmates. Rather than sensational stories of convicts, we witness remarkable voices of hope as their love of music radiates humanity and redemption on their quest for forgiveness. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Music from the Big House

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (7)

Even with a gripping subject like blues-singing convicts, the documentary "Music from the Big House" has a disconcerting emotional distance.

Jun 15, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Don't look for Elvis in this stark musical doc set in a maximum security prison.

Jun 5, 2012 | Full Review…

[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.

Jun 3, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It finally feels too cautious, as if digging a little deeper might compromise the prevailing tone of tentative uplift.

May 29, 2012 | Full Review…

McDonald's film ultimately boils down to being just another competent but slightly dull prison doc, albeit a toe-tapping one.

Apr 5, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Apr 4, 2011
Top Critic

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