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The Big Sick: Movie Review


It’s hard to look at The Big Sick and not praise it as the best romantic comedy of the last couple of years. The film, which stars Kumail Nanjiani, is based on Nanjiani’s real-life experience with his wife and the struggles they went through to be together. This movie is heartfelt, hilarious and everything one can expect from a romantic comedy but what really made me love it, and what makes it stand out from most, was just how genuine it felt. This is clearly a very personal film that benefitted from the writing prowess of both Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon (who is played by Zoe Kazan in the film). The Big Sick carries a lot of heavy themes with it, yet it never feels overwhelming. I do think that the film could benefit from trimming 15-20 minutes, as there are some things that were unnecessarily repetitive moments but I don’t see this as something that heavily detracts from the film.

So, what is The Big Sick? Basically, it is the story of Kumail Nanjiani who at this point in his life is a struggling comedian trying to make it while dealing with his Pakistani family’s wishes for him to follow traditional Muslim practices. His world gets even more complicated when he falls for an American woman, which he knows his family would not approve of. When Emily discovers that Kumail’s family doesn’t know about her, she ends things with him. Shortly thereafter she contracts a mysterious illness and is placed in a medically induced coma in order to try and stabilize her. During her time unconscious, Kumail spends a lot of time with her parents, Terry and Beth (played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter). He soon realizes he made a grave mistake in letting her go which makes this romantic comedy even more interesting.

I love the comedy in The Big Sick because none of it seems forced. Some of the funniest moments in the movie come from the conversations and interactions that the characters have with each other, particularly the relationship between Kumail and Terry. The film also constantly pokes fun at Kumail’s Muslim religion but never does so in a disparaging way. Nothing in this movie feels far-fetched and there is never the typical grand gesture of love that most rom-coms seem to have. Everything about this movie felt like it could happen to anyone and this all comes from having a strong script with a strong plot and characters that can effortlessly move the plot forward.

The Big Sick deals with important issues such as religion. For Kumail, he constantly struggles with a religion that doesn’t quite make sense to him. He doesn’t understand the idea of arranged marriages nor does he understand why his family moved to America only to keep living the same way as when they lived in Pakistan. The film also touches on the importance of family. We see how much Kumail loves his family but also how much he keeps from them out of fear of losing them. This is contrasted by Emily’s relationship with her parents, whom she keeps nothing from. One last theme that the movie focuses on is sacrifice. We are constantly reminded of the sacrifices Kumail’s parents had to make in order to bring their kids to America and give them a better life. We also see the sacrifices Kumail makes to be happy, both in his personal life and in his struggling career as a comedian. All of these different themes are handled perfectly, however, and none seem out of place or unnecessary.

While this is a romantic-comedy at heart, Kumail and Emily aren’t always the center of the film. One of the most surprising things about this film for me was how much we got to know all of the supporting characters. We really get to know Kumail’s family and we understand their difficulty with accepting who their son wants to be. We also get to know Emily’s parents and the issues that they have to deal with in their own relationship. This movie makes you actually care about these odd, quirky characters and by the end of it you hope that everything worked out well for everyone. The Big Sick will have you constantly laughing out loud and it will fill your heart with joy.

The Big Sick (2017)
Director: Michael Showalter
Studio: Lionsgate
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: June 23rd, 2017
Author: Eddie Lopez
Eddie Lopez Eduardo Lopez grew up in the hot deserts of the Imperial Valley (El Centro, CA) but now resides in San Diego. Eddie is a recent graduate from San Diego State University with a degree in Television, Film, and New Media. He grew up on classic horror movies but loves movies of every genre and every decade. Aside from talking about movies, Eddie enjoys writing screenplays and hopes to one day have one of his scripts made into an actual film.