Big Night (1996)

Directed By – Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci

Screenplay By – Joseph Tropiano & Stanley Tucci

Cinematography By – Ken Kelsch

Starring Tony Shalhoub & Stanley Tucci

107 min.

This Stanley Tucci driven film is a strange mix of quirky comedy and sad immigrant tragedy. It is also a period piece, taking place in what appears to be 1960s New York, but I don’t believe the film ever specifies. The music in this movie is great and the acting is almost spot on, minus Tucci’s coming in and out of his Italian accent. Tony Shalhoub is almost unrecognizable (in the good way) as Tucci’s Italian brother, Primo, who is the head chef of the brothers’ Italian restaurant.

Big Night is the 90s version of Jon Favreau’s Chef, having incredible cooking sequences of mouth watering dishes behind a terrific soundtrack. However, the two differ in one main way, the overall tone. While Chef is rather positive and upbeat the entire way through even when the protagonist goes through his one moment of toughness, Big Night is a tale of the hardship of immigrating to America and the hardship never lets up. The two brothers’ struggle to keep their restaurant afloat is what propels the story in the beginning and what tops it off at the end.

Big Night is worth a watch but not for the typical reasons you would think of. Big Night has a lot to say, giving you insight into the world of two Italian immigrants and their Italian culture.

God Bless America

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