MOVIE: THE BIG SICK
STARRING: KUMAIL NANJIANI; ZOE KAZAN; HOLLY HUNTER; RAY ROMANO
DIRECTED BY: MICHAEL SHOWALTER
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The kindness that exist in The Big Sick gives me hope in humanity. This is the story of star, co-writers, and real-life married couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, which is a labor of love, but it is also a journey to finding oneself. This romantic comedy from director Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name is Doris; The Baxter) tells the true story of the couples relationship, which starts as a fling, but grows serious when Emily is struck with a cold that turns for the worse. This leaves Kumail eagerly sitting at her bedside, along with her parents, who he's never met, while struggling with his own efforts to escape from family traditions and follow his heart. At the core, The Big Sick is a beautiful film, full of laughs, gentle moments, and you will leave the theater with a big smile.
You may not know who Kumail Nanjiani is as an actor, but you might know him from his entertaining style of comedy. The stand-up comic has often been saddled in minor movie roles, but he certainly leaves his mark in The Big Sick. He's recently gained popularity on HBO's Silicon Valley and can always be depended on for a well stated tweet on the many problems we have in America. In The Big Sick, he is extremely charming, as we follow his character through life’s struggles, trying to crush it in his comedy set, being an Uber driver on the side, and handling his always persistent mother (Zenobia Shroff) who wants to arrange his marriage. And then he meets Emily (played superbly by Zoe Kazan), an adorable, strong willed person, that is not afraid to stick up for herself. Kumail can dish out the jokes, but he quickly finds out she can dish it back. It turns into a perfect pair.
The film takes a turn from the first half humor to a more serious tone, where the two have an abrupt break-up when Emily finds out about Kumail's family efforts to get him to married to a Pakistani women. Kumail becomes quite miserable without her and then Emily suddenly becomes sick with an unknown illness, falling into a coma. The only person the hospital can find as a contact is Kumail, which thrusts him back into her life and oddly paired waiting with Emily’s parents, played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.
There is a surprising mixture of talent gathered by director Michael Showalter. The addition of Hunter and Romano bring strong performances with veteran flare, in addition to the green lead- Nanjiani. In well paced dramatic sequences, the older couple are a glance at the struggles of marriage and a poignant parallel to the conflict Kumail and Emily have gone through already. It all works because of the script written by Nanjiani and Gordon. It is honest and they are willing to focus on the fact that love can be imperfect. It's also sweet and funny, harking back to films like James L. Brooks' Terms of Endearment, which we don't see enough of today.
The Big Sick is a seminal film in 2017. It is a welcome back to romantic comedies of old, but also ushers in a new, and diverse kind of storytelling. Stars like Kumail Nanjiani should be cast in more films and romantic stories of people from different walks of life, coming together, is what's happening everywhere. There are multiple scenes that comment on the racial divides in our country, how children are effected by family culture, and love in the face of insurmountable odds. The Big Sick is the kind of movie we should all get behind, it gives us a reason to never give up on others, especially those we love.
Written by: Leo Brady