Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    100
    Big Night's beauty is the fact that it is about passion.
  2. 100
    It is one of the most beautifully staged American movies in a very long time.
  3. 100
    By the end of the movie, we have been through an emotional and a sensual wringer, in a film of great wisdom and delight.
  4. The real feast is in the mix of characters, each so finely and unschmaltzily delineated in a script so confident and controlled that even the most passing of participants comes alive.
  5. 89
    Big Night is, in a word, delicious.
  6. 88
    In addition to their deft skill with light drama, the directors understand well-placed humor, and throw just the right amount of comedy into the mix to make Big Night fun without turning it into an outright farce.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    A robustly imaginative sleeper
  8. 88
    May not have the size and grandeur of some of the biographical and political epics being released this fall, but I defy you to find a better written, more honest -- or yes, more satisfying and delicious -- movie this year. [27 September 1996, Friday, p.C]
  9. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    80
    It's so good, so jam-packed with delights, that it leaves you gorged -- and bemoaning the fatty glop that passes for moviemaking these days.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    A movie that is both as real as food on the table and as hauntingly evanescent as its taste on one's tongue.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    This unlikely collaboration between actors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott is extremely well directed, making for a smartly made, delightfully acted period piece whose sensibility neatly straddles art films and the mainstream.
  12. It's the moviegoing equivalent of great eating.
  13. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    80
    This little picture charms by virtue of its craft and patience.
  14. The film is loaded with brotherly affection and with warm, funny and poignant evocations of a gentler time.[20 September 1996, p.C12]
  15. As delicately and deliciously prepared as the dishes it features, Big Night is a lyric to the love of food, family and persuasive acting.
  16. Both a delightful story and a great food movie that ranks with "Like Water for Chocolate'' or "Babette's Feast.''
  17. Reviewed by: Keith Simanton
    70
    Like Primo's dishes, Big Night looks and tastes (yes, it does taste) like a labor of love.
  18. 70
    A feast of a film done on a low budget with a menu featuring top-grade acting, writing and direction.
  19. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    70
    There's an almost natty precision about this picture that's so rare these days in American movies that it provides satisfaction in itself.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    70
    One of the few American independent films right now that actually deserves its high praise.
  21. 70
    Big Night, a scrumptious tale of great food and grand passions, belongs on the menu with such mouth-watering movie fare as "Babette's Feast" and "Like Water for Chocolate."
  22. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    60
    The script is shapeless and it all goes on far too long.
  23. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    50
    The story, ultimately, is about the classic conflict between a desire to cherish and protect one's unique gifts from a brutal world and a more practical instinct to compromise beauty.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Jan 13, 2015
    10
    Sometimes a movie is perfect, its rare but sometimes it happens. This is a very rare movie!

    Every element of this movie works with ease and
    Sometimes a movie is perfect, its rare but sometimes it happens. This is a very rare movie!

    Every element of this movie works with ease and subtle perfection. There is not a bad performance by any actor involved, the script, the pace, the direction, production, heck everything about this movie makes me feel joy.

    It feels like a long time since a movie made me feel warm inside.

    Thank you to all involved in the making of BIG NIGHT, you've improved my life. X
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 29, 2014
    10
    I just thought I'd come here and say that I need movies like this in my life. Genuine, indulgent, subtle, aching. In short, done with palpable care...
  3. Jun 5, 2012
    10
    Piece of Advice DON'T WATCH THIS MOVIE WHILE YOUR HUNGRY!!! YOU WILL RESOLVE TO CANNIBALISM! But seriously, this was a really good film. ItPiece of Advice DON'T WATCH THIS MOVIE WHILE YOUR HUNGRY!!! YOU WILL RESOLVE TO CANNIBALISM! But seriously, this was a really good film. It was about two brothers who own a lovely italian restaurant with authentic cuisine.....BUT They're are losing customers fast as a new restaurant with not classical, but more 'joking around' kind of food takes all there business. Will a 'Big Night' of cooking and preparing for a HUGE dinner party with a special guest save the restaurant? Overall, great film. Full Review »