The Big Sick Review
The Big Sick is a romantic comedy film directed by Michael Showalter written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, whom the film is about. It stars Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar and Anupam Kher. It is also produced by Judd Apatow.
The Story/The Direction:
This film is about a stand-up comedian (Nanjiani) who meets a girl, Emily (Kazan), after one of his shows. They start seeing each other more often because "they aren't dating," and Kumail has a two day rule that he cant see her more than two days in a row. It's clear though that they're growing close and becoming a couple. Kumail also goes home to visit his parents, his brother and his brother's wife very often for dinner. At each visit, his mom brings in a Pakistani woman that she is trying to set him up with. He is never interested but he plays along with his mother and keeps the pictures in a box at his apartment. In addition to this, he can't tell them about Emily because she is white and his family is very traditional and they want him to carry on their cultural traditions. Then Emily finds this box and they break up. A little while later, Emily get sick and Kumail is called by one of Emily's girlfriends to be with her. Because he still has feelings for her, he goes. He then has to be the one who approves to put her in a medically-induced coma and call her parents, Terry (Romano) and Beth (Hunter). They all care for Emily but her parents know the details of their breakup and are hesitant to trust Kumail.
However Emily's sickness gives them uncomfortable position of getting to know each other. Through the direction by Showalter, this film no longer becomes a traditional romantic comedy. It has elements of both genres in there but it has so much more. It tackles topics such as race and religion that sets it apart from other films that are in the genre. But the highlight of this film is the writing. Nanjiani and Gordan are telling their story which brings out a lot of personal and touching things from this very realistic situation that they went through. You feel for all of the characters as they go through the traumatic situation. You see the details that they put into each scene and anyone who has waited in a waiting room at a hospital will understand exactly what they are going through. You would think that in a situation such as this story, it couldn't be a comedy. However as in life, laughter is the best medicine and can help you get through even the toughest times. This film felt like a mix of 50/50 and the Netflix show, Master of None, both of which I'd recommend you check out.
Each character was casted perfectly. Nanjiani was himself. I mean you can't get more perfect than that. Due to his and his real life wife's writing, you are able to feel the real chemistry between his character and Emily. Romano and Hunter are also both fantastic here. Romano plays this very down to earth dad that reminded me of his time in Everybody Loves Raymond but without as much comedy. He is able to mix comedy and seriousness in a very effective manner. Hunt is great as this no-nonsense mom. She's angry, stressed but also funny when she needs to be and clearly loves Terry very much as does he for her. Kazan is good but because she's in a coma the majority of the film, she doesn't stand out from the others. However due to the excellent writing that developed her character prior the coma, you care for her every second.
I also really enjoyed Kumail's family members. They don't get as much screen time as Emily's parents do because they don't even know of the situation aside from the brother who only knows of Emily in parts. However, the characters still feel very real to the story and when Kumail finally tells them the truth, you feel the real repercussions. This is all due to the fantastic writing.
There aren't a lot of flaws in this film and it's hard to pick apart a film that's a true story. However, if I had to pick out a few, there are a few plot points that are not resolved in the most effective way, such as the Terry and Beth's fight. It is resolved in a very simple way that does what it needs to do but it felt too simple to me. I also think the interaction near the end between Emily and Kumail at the theater after his one-man show was a quick plot point to push the romance quickly for the final scene.
This film feels natural in the dialogue and it's overall story. You can feel the realism in the writing and even if all of it was fiction, it is still a very touching story. Apatow has found another fantastic comedian in Nanjiani who I hope will continue to be in roles. The cast is great and it changes the idea of what a romantic comedy is. If you aren't into romantic comedies normally but your significant other is, definitely watch this with them. You'll get an enjoyable film while they'll get the romantic comedy that they love. If you want a break from the typical blockbusters but want quality, this is the film for you. You don't have to see it in theatres but I'd definitely watch it when it comes out on Blu-ray/On-Demand. I know I'll be buying it.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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