Box art for Too Big To Fail

Too Big To Fail


A gripping look at the financial crisis of 2008 from the perspective of the insiders who prevented a global economic meltdown.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
0 out of 5

Complex account of 2008 economic collapse; lots of language.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Too Big to Fail is a riveting play-by-play of the economic meltdown of 2008 and the collusion between Wall Street and the United States Department of Treasury. There's frequent use of "f--k," and the discussions about what caused the collapse will probably be too complex and boring for younger viewers, but for older kids and families interested in contemporary history -- or for families who experienced economic hardship as a direct result of the myopic greed of the financial sector -- Too Big to Fail is an informative and entertaining account of how the stock market crash and subsequent government bailouts transpired.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the challenges in making a film like Too Big to Fail. While based on a book, what would be the difficulties in bringing true events and characters to life? How would the writers get their information on how events transpired behind closed doors?
  • How did the decisions made in the boardrooms of Wall Street and the offices of the Secretary of Treasury have direct repercussions on your family or those in your community?
  • Does the film do a good job in explaining the specifics of how the financial collapse of 2008 happened? Why or why not?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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  • Audience


Audience Reviews

3 stars

"You want "too big to fail" here it is! You got a better idea -the suggestion box is wide open!" Chronicles the financial meltdown of 2008 and centers on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. REVIEW "Too Big to Fail" addresses the subject of modern-day mega corporations whose failure, however deserving, might be of such catastrophic dimensions that it must be avoided, if at all possible, whatever the cost. The subject matter, the US financial crisis of 2008, is profound and enormous, in terms of its shock at the time and continuing consequences, to trivialize. The main characters - William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, for instance - become aware of the distinct possibility of spiraling into a 21st century version of The Great Depression. We are awestruck by such a possibility. The plot forces at work are both economic and political, both having profound influences. Politics? As usual, it is the Art of the Possible. Economics? A very difficult-to-comprehend arena, neither art nor science. The story leads us, step by step, as numerous characters play their role on this stage. The message: How could they have been so stupid? The filmmakers have hit the nail on the head.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Monday, February 13, 2012

3 stars

Too Big to Fail is HBO's effort to dramatize the financial meltdown of 2008. It features an amazing cast, including James Woods, William Hurt, and Ed Asner. All bring a lot of presence to their scenes, even when the script doesn't fully let them shine. We get a lot of moments of tension and good dialogue exchanges, but we also get awkward moments that feel grossly manufactured so as to deliver exposition. In that sense, it's far from Margin Call, a film that brilliantly conveyed tension and steaks with similar themes. At the same time, it's not boring, executed with enough polish to keep it consistently engaging. The politics of the film and the editorializing are rather bland, however, with a far too forgiving portrayal of Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, when the true origins of the crisis and ongoing turmoil are far more sinister and planned than what the film showed. But HBO was trying to keep it mainstream, so judged on that standard, it was successful, though not "accurate" in the truest sense of the word. 3.5/5 Stars Note: An excellent breakdown of the crisis can be found in the award-winning documentary, Inside Job.

- fb704730572, Thursday, June 21, 2012

4 stars

This was very suspenseful. I kept looking at it as some horror - scenario and getting scared that it's based on real events. Love the high-profile cast, too. Enjoyed it overall and in every detail. There should be more movies like this.

- AlekseiT, Tuesday, July 10, 2012