The Big Sick

2017-10-06 06:22

What it's about:

Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gordon fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.

What we thought:

Being loved and loving someone in return is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever learnt to do. And I know that I’m not the only one because there have been wars waged, entire canons of literature written and endless songs written on the subject. It’s tricky, to say the least.

So, making a movie on the heterosexual version of the subject is obviously nothing new. It even has a formula, boy meets girl, boy loses girl and boy gets girl back (or vice-versa). But The Big Sick actually breaks the established mould. Not in every way, but in a manner that made me believe in destined love again.

It explores the idea that the person that you end up loving might not be the person you saw yourself with, or the person that is the safest bet but the person (that despite everything) you want in your life. 

It tells the real-life story of a comedian named Kumail (played by Kumail Nanjiani) and Emily (played by Zoe Kazan). The pair meet and kind of fall for each other but the fact that Kumail’s family want him to marry a Muslim Pakistani woman ultimately makes them break up. Then, Emily falls into a life threatening coma.  

The fact that screenwriters Kumail and Emily found a way to write about their lives, illness and romantic experiences (including infidelity) in a hilariously relatable way is really incredible. It seems like a simple thing to do but it’s not. They also made me fall in love with both of them (or at least the film versions of themselves) and want their romance to work out.

They take you on a rollercoaster that almost seems unbelievable but then you remember that it is based on their lives. The supporting cast that includes Holly Hunter as Beth and Ray Romano as Terry (Emily’s parents) as well as Anupam Kher as Azmat (Kumail’s dad) all give performances that bring both levity and brevity in equal measure. There are sweet and sour turns in this film that made me unsure of what would happen next, which is something new in a romantic comedy that I really enjoyed. I went home more sure than ever that the most interesting love stories are not the ones we’ve seen over and over again but rather from the people on the periphery of hegemonic society.

The most interesting love stories are about characters who might not fit in the pages of a Nicholas Sparks book but who are more absorbing to watch on screen because of how they’ve overcome intersectional issues to say how they really feel about the person that they love. 

I would definitely recommend going to watch this movie on a date. It made me want to rush home with a giant stuffed giraffe. 

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