The Big Sick is a romantic comedy directed by Michael Showalter and written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. The film is partly based on and inspired by the real-life romance between Nanjiani and Gordon and stars Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar, Anupam Kher and Kumail Nanjiani. Kumail effectively plays himself in this film and the story focuses on his interracial relationship with Emily (Zoe Kazan). They have to deal with their cultural differences but Emily is struck with a sudden illness that threatens more than just their relationship.
My Knowledge and Expectation of The Big Sick
This is a film which has been on my radar ever since it was initially released at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It received unanimous praise, particularly when it came to the script, the performances and the cross-cultural themes that The Big Sick showcases. Still, this was the only thing I knew about The Big Sick. Indeed, I am unfamiliar with the director and I knew little about the cast. Moreover, Kumail Nanjiani is someone who, until quite recently, I did not know anything about.
I have never watched Silicon Valley which is where he made a name for himself. I only came to know about Kumail through his recent appearance on a THR Roundtable. I was excited to see him in a leading role as well as the other actors/actresses that were unknown to me. The only two in this that I knew were Holly Hunter and Ray Romano and this was because of their voice work in The Incredibles and Ice Age respectively. The praise that The Big Sick received prior to its release in the UK set my expectations relatively high and I was hoping to have a fun time with it.
My Thoughts on The Big Sick
I really enjoyed The Big Sick. While I do not hold the film in the same lofty regard as others, it is a very good film that accomplishes the difficult feat of blending comedy, romance and drama in a very natural and authentic way. A big reason why this is the case was because of the performance by Kumail Nanjiani. He was perfect for this role and it is not surprising since he was effectively playing himself in a story based on his real-life relationship with co-writer Emily V. Gordon.
Zoe Kazan played Emily in this film and she also did a great job. She had great chemistry with Kumail Nanjiani and their relationship gave The Big Sick a lot of heart and depth. Indeed, this is especially true when you consider that the film dealt with important themes such as religion, The American Dream and cultural identity in a 21st century setting.
Still, for me, The Big Sick really shined when the parents of both Kumail and Emily were involved in the story. They provided the funniest moments in the film. Kumail’s parents, and his family in general, were flat out hilarious and the scenes that focused on their efforts to get an arranged marriage for Kumail provided a lot of laughs.
Emily’s parents, who were played by the aforementioned Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, also had their moments. Indeed, a joke about 9/11 had me in stitches (I know that came across badly, but it makes sense within the context of the film). The way their relationship with Kumail developed throughout The Big Sick was another strong element of the film.
To be honest, there is very little that I can find wrong with The Big Sick. It has a bit of everything for everyone. True, other films in 2017 have left a bigger impact on me and, because of this, they rank higher. However, this film was one of the most pleasant and feel-good viewing experiences that I have had at the cinema so far in 2017. This is because the ending was such a nice note to finish on after some pretty heavy scenes in the film. I highly recommend that you see The Big Sick as soon as you can. You will laugh, you may cry but you will leave the cinema in a much happier mood.