To See or Not to See: The Big Sick

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a really solid romantic dramedy so it’s incredibly satisfying to have found one in The Big Sick.

Written by comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, The Big Sick is the story of how they met and began their relationship. It’s also a movie that shows a little bit of the immigrant family experience and dives deeply into what makes a committed, lasting romantic relationship.

Kumail Nanjiani’s family comes from Pakistan and settled in the Chicago suburbs. Like many children of immigrants, Kumail was expected to become a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer, but he instead decided he wanted to be a comedian. He gets crap from his parents, Sharmeen (Zenobia Shroff) and Azmat (Anupam Kher), and his married brother Naveed (Adeel Akhtar) about that every week at their Sunday night family dinners. The same dinners where his mother continuously tries to set him up with a “good Pakistani girl” when the dessert course happens.

Unbeknownst to his family, Kumail begins to date a grad student, Emily (Zoe Kazan), who happens to be white. Trying to live up to his parents’s expectations in at least one aspect of his life, he keeps her at arm’s length. When Emily gets a freak infection that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finally has to confront his true feelings—in addition to meeting her parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) while holding vigil by her bedside for over a month.

The dialogue is witty, many of the scenes thought-provoking, and the story is enlightening. Additionally, the entire cast makes The Big Sick feel like such a relatable story, whether or not you’re a part of an immigrant family yourself. Everyone has complicated relationships—with their families especially. Going on Kumail’s journey—with his parents, Emily’s parents, and with Emily herself—alongside him is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Hollywood, take note: The Big Sick is the kind of refreshing, original movie that we need more of.

 

★ ★ ★ ★ out of 4

 

Photo Credit: Apatow Productions and Amazon

Taraneh

Taraneh has been happily living in NYC for over a decade, but originally hails from the Midwest. Enamored with books at a young age, she grew up making stories, playing make believe, and loving the musical and performing arts. She is great at binge-watching TV shows. Some current favorites: Schitt's Creek, A Court of Mist & Fury, Prince Harry, and The Magicians.

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