Bigger Than Life (1956)
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The suits wanted a torn-from-the-headlines melodrama; what they got was the director at his expressionistic best, subverting the suburban fantasy and leaving nothing but tattered gray flannel and scorched earth in his wake."
‑ David Fear, Time Out New York
"Those who remember the creeping terror and eeriness of Mr. Roueché's real-life yarn will be sorry to learn that there is little terror or eeriness in the film."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"A masterful melodrama whose aesthetic beauty works in service of a stinging social critique."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"[D]rop the 'Reefer' and call this film 'Cortisone Madness.'"
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Film Threat
"The film is a tricky mix of glossy Technicolor realism and elevated expressionism that feels both marvelously classic and aggressively modern."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seanax.com
"James Mason has picked a powerful subject for his first 20th-Fox production and delivers it with quite a bit of dramatic distinction in carrying out the supervisory duties and as the male lead."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"This is Rebel Without a Cause for the grown-up world."
‑ , Time Out
"...is a dark cautionary tale about suburban ennui that feels like an unacknowledged antecedent to the AMC TV series Breaking Bad."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"It's all horrifying, and its eerie resemblance to the McCarthy-esque paranoia and fear that swept the nation makes Bigger Than Life extremely powerful."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"The sort-of picture-perfection of the suburban home...is a tenuous cover for the unpredictability of life, the short distance between the American Dream and the American nightmare. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"It's hard to think of another Hollywood picture with more to say about the sheer awfulness of 'normal' American family life during the 50s."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"...an amazing critique of conventional 1950s morality..."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"The epitome of a social problem film, in which the "crisis of conformism" bursts open in every single tension-producing frame."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"a surprisingly expressionistic horrorshow, a frightening and indelible portrait of the nuclear family turned into a hellish emotional torture chamber"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Ed's vision is demented and distorted, and yet, Ray insinuates, doesn't his protagonist, in an odd way, see through the smug mediocrity that is 1950s America?"
‑ Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
More reviews for Bigger Than Life (1956) on Rotten Tomatoes