“The Big Sick” Is A Good Test To See If Whoever You Watch It With Has A Heart



Title: The Big Sick
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Posted September 22, 2017 by

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There are movies that revolve around sickness that are clearly meant to tug at the heart strings and seem to only be aiming to make you cry in the theater or in front of whoever happens to be watching it with you. While I can sympathize with the characters on the screen, those films have never done much for me because I found myself only relating to the characters on a very base level; what if this happened to me or someone I loved? While they may have succeeded at making me think about my own mortality, they didn’t stick with me because the story wasn’t the focal point; getting me to weep openly was. This is not the case with “The Big Sick”. Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, writer Emily V. Gordon, have penned an honest portrayal of what a new relationship looks like and how quickly your perspective on what truly matters can change when it is put in jeopardy.

Following his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian has already put Kumail at odds with his traditional Pakistani parents who would prefer he become a lawyer; not wanting to be ostracised completely, he has decided to hide the fact that he is in love with a white woman, Emily, whom he met at one of his shows. While he continues to spend time with Emily, he also makes believe he is a practicing Muslim in front of his family as his mother parades woman after woman in front of him at their dinner table hoping he will agree to an arranged marriage with one of the suitable partners that just keep happening to “stop by” when he’s over for their weekly dinner. The closer Emily and Kumail get, the more questions she has about his family and why she has yet to meet them. Cultures clash and their new relationship finds itself crumbling just as quickly as it started.

While all of these things begin to come to a head, Emily gets sick with a mysterious illness that baffles doctors and threatens her life. She’s put in a medical induced coma and now Kumail is left trying to make sense of it all, trying to avoid an arranged marriage, and struggling to keep focused on his career. This is the tonal shift in the movie and it goes from being lighthearted to downright gut-wrenching, yet never lets you get too lost in the grief and seriousness of the situation. There’s a moment that represents that best when Kumail is finally coming clean with his parents about why he keeps rejecting the women they have chosen for him. It’s this honest, brutal scene where things don’t go well and, at the end of it, his roommate walks through the front door and admits he never went to the store like he originally planned; he just listened from the hallway. It’s this perfect balance that Nanjiani and Gordon found while telling their real-life story that makes this movie feel authentic as it put me in the characters’ shoes and made me feel every emotion they were dealing with.

This film has boasts the perfect cast with strong performances from Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan (Emily), Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily’s parents, and Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, and Adeel Akhtar as Kumail’s father, mother, and brother. There isn’t one character I didn’t like in this movie and that’s rare for such a large ensemble cast that share almost equal screen time. 

This is the perfect movie to see if the person you’re in love with, or any one of your friends, is a serial killer because there shouldn’t be a dry eye by the end of the movie. Much like Kumail uses pop culture to see if the woman he’s spending time with is a good match, this is the perfect film to see if you should run for the hills in your own relationships.

“The Big Sick” is produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Michael Showalter and is available for rent now.

Kumail with his wife (and the real Emily) Emily V. Gordon




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