Music from the Big House
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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… More
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© Caché Film & Television

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Even with a gripping subject like blues-singing convicts, the documentary "Music from the Big House" has a disconcerting emotional distance."
‑ Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
"It finally feels too cautious, as if digging a little deeper might compromise the prevailing tone of tentative uplift."
‑ Benjamin Mercer, Village Voice
"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."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"Don't look for Elvis in this stark musical doc set in a maximum security prison."
‑ Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"McDonald's film ultimately boils down to being just another competent but slightly dull prison doc, albeit a toe-tapping one."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"Music from the Big House middles along as a formless, touristy showcase for Chiarelli."
‑ Justin Strout, Orlando Weekly
"[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."
‑ Nicolas Rapold, New York Times
"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."
‑ John Anderson, Variety
More reviews for Music from the Big House on Rotten Tomatoes