The trouble with the movie is that much of it feels like a sitcom. The editing is far too rapid. It hurt my eyes. Not much happens in the film. It's not at all a demanding movie. It's not that funny and it doesn't take any risks. Which makes it a pretty standard romantic comedy, but not an exceptional one..
The Big Sick (2017)
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The trouble with the movie is that much of it feels like a sitcom. The editing is far too rapid. It hurt my eyes. Not much happens in the film. It's not at all a demanding movie. It's not that funny and it doesn't take any risks. Which makes it a pretty standard romantic comedy, but not an exceptional one..
The Big Sick is one of those rare movies that presents itself as 3 genres, in this case Drama, Comedy, and Romance, and it services each of those genres equally. So well that you have to mention all 3 if you're talking about the movie. It's not just a Rom-Com or a Rom- Dram, it's most certainly a Rom-Com-Dram. I haven't seen a film so effortlessly balance the 3 genres. This is all while seemingly reinvent the formula for a romantic comedy to beautifully fresh results. The Big Sick uses witty humor, charming leads, and socially important topics to give us the best film of the summer thus far.
A romance is only as good as its leads and their chemistry. Luckily, Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan grace the screen with a refreshingly awkward and charming presence. Being that I haven't really seen either of them in anything else, their relationship felt miraculously original. The Big Sick is based on Nanjiani's actual life, but this felt like a comedy unrestricted by real-life accounts while also honoring a serious subject matter that has its place. However, the two's chemistry isn't all this film has, its entire ensemble is something to behold. Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Anupam Kher, Adeel Akhtar, Zenobia Shroff, and the various comedians do a wonderful job of rounding out the fantastic cast.
It doesn't fall back into genre clichés or tropes, doesn't fall back into an overly physical comedy (like most comedies do now), and it most certainly doesn't go the direction you think it's going to go. The Big Sick benefits from having a diverse cast and story and an impeccably funny but also poignant script. Heck, it also doesn't hurt that it takes place and was filmed in my hometown of Chicago. But the important thing is, this film restores my faith (once again) in original romantic comedies. Go see it.
+Funny & heartwarming
+Balances its 3 genres impressively
No story or movie becomes great without a superb cast. Again Kumail Nanjiani proved his versatility with an amazingly strong performance (in my opinion award winning). And this movie was not a one man show, Zoe Kazan gave just the right energy to her role, Holly Hunter should get an Academy Award for best supporting actress for hers, Ray Romano was excellent as were Zenobia Shroff and Anupam Kher. This was the best movie I've seen in a very long time and just may be the best romantic comedy I've ever seen.
As a white guy from a middle class family, I already have to process my thoughts if I'm going to go against my parents. I can't imagine how much harder that has to be for those from backgrounds with thicker backgrounds. A good friend of mine is marrying into a Mexican-catholic family despite being nonreligious. He's told me that it's taken him a while to win over his brides family and to be accepted into their traditions. Another friend of mine married an African-American, despite some resistance from his family. Today, I know them as one of the most loving families around. The Big Sick examines love and conflicting with traditions.
Uber driver Kumail (played by Kumail Nanjiani) is an aspiring stand up comedian who is on the verge of acquiring his big break by possibly getting a spot in a popular Canadian comedy festival. He also does a one person play about his experience of growing up in Pakistan and the U.S.A. and how he's adopted the American way of living, despite his family staying safe within their Pakistan values. This includes weekly dinners where his parents keep trying to set him up with potential women from Pakistan to lead into an arraigned marriage. This changes during one of his shows when a heckler stops his show.
Aspiring therapist Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) talks to Kumail about his act and the two end up going home. Though they keep claiming they won't do it again, it leads them to date (without Kumail's parents knowing of course). After a fight and her walking out, Kumail gets a phone call about her in the hospital. He agrees with the doctor to put her in a medical induced coma and uses her phone to contact her parents. Her father Terry (played by Ray Romano) and mother Beth (played by Holly Hunter) arrive as the two and Kumail try to help them deal with their daughter. The Big Sick happens to not only be very cute, but this is a nice examination at these kinds of relationships. You usually don't see many interracial kinships (with the exception of this years Get Out), but this one examines a lot of the complications that arise from both families opinions to between the lovers. It even manages to subvert a lot of tropes you typically find in these romance comedies, like how the couple has their "blowout" much earlier, which only makes the situation even more complicated if she recovers.
The main star and scriptwriter, Kumail Nanjuani, clearly has based this off of his experiences (just wait for the end credits). He knows how to juggle the balance of what probably happened and which moments were exaggerated. He also understands just how much he can hurt his family and how high the consequences were. Though his performance as himself was good, the bigger surprise comes from both Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, both actors I haven't seen in a while. If you think Romano is just repeating his character from Everybody Loves Raymond, then you'll be in for a surprise by how sincere his character is. While I can't spoil the best parts, I can be sure he may have earned himself an Oscar nomination.
The Big Sick also dwells into stand up comedy, which is rarely done on film, into new territory I haven't seen. While most deal with trying to be funny, this one seems to care about how much storytelling is involved. As someone whose done some stand up, I can say that the film is accurate and honest about how hard it is to get noticed. While we're not all trying to get on Saturday Night Live, we at least have different perspectives that are worth addressing.
I'll give this ten stuffed giraffes out of ten. I was taken aback with how much I liked this and hope that a lot of people realize that all kinds of love are worth talking about. The biggest sacrifice you can make depends on what you value, and I hope that this movie can help. I can definitely recommend The Big Sick.
Instead of a drama about the consequences of these culture clashes, Nanjiani made a lighthearted film, following the classic screenplay structure of the romantic comedy. Boy meets girl, falls in love, has to overcome all kinds of setbacks and problems, is rejected by the girl, but keeps on trying, and ultimately succeeds in winning her love. Everything is so predictable that the jokes must be really good to make up for the unimaginative screenplay.
Unfortunately, they're not. I counted one really good joke (about 9/11) and a handful in the category 'not bad'. But overall, this movie lacks the wit and humour that you'd expect from a film that was praised at Sundance. The jokes are flat and the running gags, like the endless parade of Pakistani marriage candidates, are boring.
So, the film is predictable and not very funny. That wouldn't have mattered if Nanjiani had turned his own experiences in a really heartfelt drama about how in some immigrant communities traditional parents try to arrange marriages for their unwilling offspring. And how this can lead to devastating consequences, like parents disowning their children. In 'The Big Sick', this fact is presented in the offhand manner which of course is typical for comedies.
The theme of arranged marriages in immigrant communities made me think of the excellent German/Turkish movie about this subject, 'When we leave'. That film was like a punch in the stomach. 'The Big Sick' is like listening to someone trying in vain to be funny.
There is only one thing I really liked in this film: Holly Hunter's part as the mother of Nanjiani's love interest. The way she completely played everyone else off the screen, for example with a wonderful and completely unexpected outburst of grief-induced anger, was absolutely great.
The amazing part of this movie is that it deals with deeply serious complex issues, but does so with humor and grace. The screenplay is remarkable and nuanced, but is infused with a comedian's sense of humor that captures the real human comedy that exists in all personal relationships. You will die laughing when Emily's bewildered father turns to Kumail in a hospital cafeteria and asks him, "What do you think of 9/11?" and Kumail responds as a comedian should to such an outrageously stupid question. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are excellent in the roles of Emily's parents.
While based on a true story, I'm sure parts have been fictionalized to bring the drama and the humor of the events to the screen, but it appears that the basic Romeo & Juliet premise is based on the screen writers' real relationship. The film's ability to balance the deadly serious and the comedic reminds me of the wonderful film 50/50 (2011) which also dealt with a deadly illness with a similar light touch. This beautiful film which deals so well with the complexities of overcoming cultural differences serves as a good anecdote to our charged political climate and especially with the demonization of Islam that has become all too dangerous in this country. I hope it is the breakout comedy hit of the summer when it goes into wide release in July.
'The Big Sick' is based on the real courtship of Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife, Emily Gordon. Kumail's traditional Pakistani Muslim family is unhappy with his relationship with Emily, a White American. When Emily is waylaid by a mysterious illness, Kumail must take charge of the crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry, whom he barely knows.
'The Big Sick' is an overwhelming experience, that left me with a big smile on my face. Its beautiful love-story, with the backdrop of two diverse families, from two extreme ends of the world. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon re-tell their heartwarming, albeit intense journey, with pure skill. The two successfully capture their real life experiences & nurture into a terrific cinematic experience. The Writing is top-notch & offers a realistic take on different religions, without ever taking sides. Such Writing deserves an Oscar Nomination. Michael Showalter's Direction is simplistic, yet wonderful. Cinematography & Editing are effectively done. Art & Costume Design are perfect.
Performance-Wise: Kumail Nanjiani is wonderfully restrained, delivering a performance driven by pure feeling. Zoe Kazan as Emily, is extraordinary. Although she gets limited screen time in comparison to the others, the actress leaves a solid mark. Ray Romano & Holly Hunter, as Emily's parents, are flawless. What Performers! Anupam Kher as Kumail's Father & Adeel Akhtar's as Kumail's brother, are excellent. Bo Burnham & Kurt Braunohler shine as Kumail's fellow stand-up mates. Others lend support.
On the whole, 'The Big Sick' is an Unmissable Gem. Two Big Thumbs Up!
The characters and story possess some originality and relevance, but the film's effect could have been far more intense if it hadn't focused principally on laughs. Despite the strong emotional content - love, family and ill-health - the film never escapes the clutches of light comedy. The actors deliver respectable performances, but their efforts can't lift the material above the level of a forgettable sit-com. Ken Loach's 'A Fond Kiss' explores similar territory in a far more memorable manner.
It's a film that goes from being a diverting portrayal of the life of a stand-up comic to a romance story to an allegory on overcoming cultural barriers in the United States. The tonal shifts might seem extreme at first, but they gradually cement a powerful narrative that makes for a lot of laughs but also becomes bittersweet and endearing without resorting to a hint of sentimentality.
The film takes on a new form when the girlfriend is beset with a severe illness. From there, the comedy aspect gradually becomes something of a supporting part to a deeper character study and exploration of family and cultural pressures even in the face of unanticipated grave events. You will laugh, you will be close to tears and you might engage in your own introspection after watching this film. Brilliantly written and beautifully acted, this one is from the heart. Recommended to the highest degree.
The Big Sick is fantastically well acted by the films four central actors. Holly Hunter's presence is felt immediately when we first meet her character, and she excellently plays the strong but also compassionate mother of Emily that is Beth. Ray Romano makes a brilliant comeback as Terry, Emily's father, Romano is obviously no stranger to playing the father role, being one a father of four himself. Romano's experience shows in this film, he is funny, timid and believable in this film and it's great to see him not play a Mammoth in a movie for once. Zoe Kazan is also great as Emily, playing her with a great level of emotion and, similar to Holly Hunter, having a real presence, even if she isn't featured all that much in the actual film.
However, the real star of this film is Kumail Nanjiani. This is Kumail's movie, he absolutely shines in the films lead role and is simply a revelation. His comedic timing and line delivery is absolutely on point and his use of sarcasm is exquisite, but not only that, Kumail nails the more serious and emotional scenes, even shedding a few tears, which I honestly did not see coming. Kumail Nanjiani doesn't just shine as a comedic actor, but as a well rounded actor and I really hope this film does wonders for him.
But of course comedy is not just about the delivery, it's also largely about the material and The Big Sick's material and overall script are simply marvellous. Not only shining as an actor, Kumail Nanjiani shines as a writer, co-writing this laugh out loud comedy with his wife Emily V Gordon. The couple have excellently crafted a subversive romantic comedy that feels so genuine and so real, that you almost don't want it to end, I know I didn't. What makes this film truly stand out from other rom-coms is how just genuine the film feels and how clearly you can feel the writer's emotions. It's obvious that this is more than just a film and was written from the heart. Not only that, it's laugh out loud funny, which to get me to laugh aloud is like getting blood out of a stone, and deals with its very relevant themes of cultural tradition and family disappointment daringly yet also respectably.
Yes this film is hilarious and emotional, but what really makes the film stand out is how it handles its sensitive subjects. Kumail comes from a strict, traditionalist, Pakistani Muslim family living in America, so he is going to struggle with the type of life he wants to live and the one his family want him to live, while also experiencing his fair share of 9/11 and Isis comments and overall bigotry. How The Big Sick handles these sensitive matters is outstanding, it doesn't cower from both debating issues and making some very controversial jokes surrounding them. The film doesn't tiptoe around these things, but also doesn't make the film all about them either, being loud and proud without being pretentious. We simply need more films like this.
Overall, The Big Sick is a beautifully well written and excellently acted film, that confidently addresses its sensitive areas without being cocky and feels extremely genuine on both a comedic and emotional front. I went in knowing little about the film and that is honestly the way to go, as the films end/ start of credits added a nice surprise that just added a whole new layer to the film. I actually laughed aloud which is extremely rare for me and my smile did not leave my face until long after the film had finished. I really hope this launches Kumail Nanjiani and co-writer Emily V Gordon into all new levels of acclaim and success. Bravo and Brava.
The Big Sick is a fantastic movie. What is fascinating about this film is that, it's based on the real life love story of Kumail(who also wrote the film) & co-writer of the script, Emily V. Gordon. Director Michael Showalter has done a bang-up job, balancing the romantic, comedic & dramatic elements of the movie. This film is laugh-out- loud funny but, it can also make you feel emotional, from time to time. The performances are spot on. Kumail Nanjiani is brilliant as Kumail. Zoe Kazan is spectacular as Emily. Nanjiani & Kazan share an adorable & effortless chemistry, in all their scenes together. Holly Hunter is outstanding as Beth. Ray Romano is awesome as Terry. Anupam Kher is superb as Azmat. Zenobia Shroff is great as Sharmeen. Adeel Akhtar is excellent as Naveed. Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler & Shenaz Treasurywala are impressive as CJ, Mary, Chris & Fatima, respectively. The Big Sick is a must watch for romantic comedy fans. Go for it, as soon as you can.
Additionally, there are random, out-of-character scenes forced into the story which are unbelievable and clumsy. For example, when Kumail Nanjiani shows up at a drive- thru restaurant, the bit seems like it is from another character in another movie.
Topping all that, the film keeps its emotional connection to the audience at arm's length due to the insensitive directing that seems to prefer the syllable of every written line in lieu of nuance and charm that may have been between the lines.
'The Big Sick' is brilliant in an unpretentious and unconventional way but at the same time it is very true to it's genre. It's fearless and talk about certain issues in a very refreshing way. The characters are real and super believable. You don't have the conventionally good looking romantic couple doing the predictable cheesy things on screen and its fresh to see that.
This is an autobiographical story of Kumail Nanjiani (plays himself) and his wife Emily V Gordon (Zoe Kazan). Kumail is in his 30s, a struggling standup comedian in chicago. He is a Pakistani Muslim. He was 14 when his family immigrated to the US. His family is very religious and believes in praying and expects their son to do an arranged marriage to a bride selected by them. His mother (Zenobia Shroff) has been relentlessly trying to find a match for her son with a Muslim Pakistani girl.
During one of his comedy gigs he get 'heckled' by Emily, a white American girl who cannot be more different from him and his family. Both of them hit if off immediately. They try to end the relationship as a fling but cant help falling in love and start dating. They eventually have a fight and have a half breakup. Shortly after Emily is admitted to the hospital and put into a medically induced coma. Kumail stands by her during this time and informs her parents to come by. The rest of the story is about how Kumail and Emily's parent interact and how Emily struggles with the 'Big Sick'. Don't get me wrong the movie never gets even a little bit sad.
Kumail Nanjiani is so good in this movie playing himself. He has redefined how the Hollywood leading man in a romantic comedy should be like. Zoe Kazan is great and shares a good chemistry with Kumail. The third most important cast of the movie are the parents of Kumail and Emily. Zenobia Shroff and Anupam Kher plays the perfect Pakistani parents. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are just brilliant in the movie. Such effortless and real acting by these two pair. Kumail's elder brother played by Adeel Akhtar does a great job. Their sister played by Shenaz Treasurywalla has very few lines but looks apt in the role. Kumail's three buddies played by Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant and Kurt Braunohler complement the comedy excellently,
The writing by Kumail and his wife Emily Gordon is masterful. It is the real star of this movie. Michael Showalter's direction does justice to the writing.
After a very long time I saw a rom-com I loved thoroughly and that's why I cant stop raving about this one. This is a breakout movie and a new benchmark has been set.
Also published on my website - www.storiesofheart.com
Like a sociopathic child dragging it's torn and half eaten teddy, I too was dragged along to see this movie by my significant other, whose depiction of the film was roughly of "a struggle for acceptance by an interracial couple in the west." Unfortunately, this film was only barely that.
Yes, he is Pakistani. Yes, he is in a not-so-hot interracial relationship. Yes, he seems to be rebelling against the stereotypical beard wearing, head bobbing, rice eating, Urdu speaking family he appears to be a member of, but the depiction seem to stop there.
Firstly, the acting, like watching Bruce Forsyth perv on the dancing on ice girls, was just barely tolerable through all the cringe worthiness and specifically the casting of Zoe Kazan was just plain wrong. I really didn't enjoy watching her; she can barely deliver dialogue, she looked awkward and gaunt the whole time (even when she was well) and there was no chemistry on screen with either Kumail or her on-screen parents. The argumentative scenes were poorly dialogued and seemed too hyperbolic and forced and just showed what an awful actor she is.
Coming onto the story itself, it's basically a story of a Pakistani stand-up comedian whose white girlfriend falls sick, gets better and then everyone is happy - with very little of interest in between. The pathetic little in-depth exploration of cultural differences and intra-customary variations were only ever skid marks on the undies of revelation and portrayed as quippy stereotypes and cheap gags. For example *Pakistani accent* "why don't you grow a beard like your brother" and "oh, Mrs 'whoever' was just driving by and dropped in" (don't forget to roll the R's). Additionally, every brown character in the movie seemed to have a Pakistani accent despite them telling us some were USA born and bred - again this points to the forced and farcical nature of the approach to humour in the movie.
Furthermore, if you've read any of my previous reviews, you'll know I detest medical inconsistencies in movies. I'm sorry but one minute Emily has a chest infection (for which she would have received some anti-inflammatories at some point - I'll come onto why this is important in a minute) and the next minute she's so unwell she's materialised five jargon jabbering Jar Jar Binks style doctors and needs urgent surgery (for god knows what - she had no indication a second ago of empyema/pleural effusion etc and I'm sorry but I've not really heard of just cutting an infection out of someone's lung, even TB isn't managed like that these days!) Then hey presto, Dr House obviously came along and matched the swollen ankle tid-bit from earlier with her apparent "inconclusive biopsy" (again - Huh?) and came up with Adult Onset Still's Disease. Her condition then rapidly improved the minute they gave her some anti-inflammatories - which dare I say she would have got in the ER the minute she walked through the door for her apparent chest infection, so, none of this medical mumbo-jumbo would have happened anyway! Really, if they wanted me to care about her medical condition they should have focused and put some effort into getting the details accurate, because apparently it may actually have happened exactly like that, if this movie really was based on a true story.
However, regardless if the medicine was accurate or depicted well, like an impending meteor the rubbish that ensued whilst Emily was unconscious had already sealed this movie's fate. An obligatory 9-11 related scene could never go amiss here, the bombing out on stage (excuse the pun), the pointless screaming at a PA system over 4 slices of cheese and the overall boring conversations just left me feeling sleepy. I have no idea why the story then suddenly waffled on about Emily's parent's marital issues - what on earth did that have to do with the price of chips?
Overall, this movie picked a great topic to explore but failed miserably at exploring it. The focus here should have been on delving into Pakistani culture, how the second generation are adapting it into Western Culture and how both generations are dealing with this paradigm shift. This should have been a film about Kumail's and Emily's parents bonding and accepting each other's cultures through the eyes of their children, especially as Emily battles for her life. This could have been a movie about the younger American-Indian/Pakistani/whatever generation teaching the older generations of their identity struggle, how they strive to fit into both worlds and how the older generation need to change to be more accepting of this brave new world. Yet, instead this was a film about cheesy quips, borderline racist stereotypes and just the usual white people issues and pointless yelling, boiling down to just being another boring chick-flick type romance movie with some basic comedic moments.
Watch Bend It Like Beckham, East is East, Marigold Hotel or even Bride and Prejudice *sigh* if you expect more exploration of cultural differences. This is barely watchable. 6/10 as the funny bits are funny.
About 30 minutes into the movie I turned to my wife and said, "this is a load of rubbish". She nodded her head violently in agreement. There are a few good performances from established actors in the cast but, in the main, this movie is boring and humorless. The main actor is apparently a stand-up comedian, I reckon he should probably stick with that. His performance is flat and wooden, very amateurish. The Big Sick is maybe something the under 30s might enjoy but, as an oldie, I thought it was far worse than ordinary.
First and foremost, however, "The Big Sick" is a comedy. Nanjiani and Gordon's script contains dialogue and comedic bits that carry the trademark of a stand-up comedian, apropos of Nanjiani's comedy roots. The early portion of the film plays as a modern-day comedy about a Pakistani-born comedian falling for a white psychology master's student.
Still, the humor comes from an honest, relatable place with familiar scenarios, especially for the full range of today's young adults. Judd Apatow's producer fingerprints (namely his work with "Girls" and "Love") are clearly visible, though director Michael Showalter ("Wet Hot American Summer") is no slouch when it comes to getting laughs. Aziz Ansari's "Master of None" might be the best comparison, but the point of all this is "The Big Sick" speaks from that same comedic place that yearns for authenticity.
The true story element has a lot to do with it. Rarely do you have a husband and wife write a movie together about how they met starring one of them as themselves, and all these factors being true endears us to Nanjiani and this movie so quickly. Although it's fairly clear the ways in which the story deviates from the truth, Nanjiani playing himself presents a kind of autobiographical fearlessness so rare in movies that we can't help but note how invested he must feel in telling this story that he's willing to open up to an audience in this way.
Kumail's familial pressures as the son of devout Pakistani Muslims play a critical role in this story as well, paramount to most other dynamics in the film. Young people have been pushing against their parents' religious impositions for a long time in comedies, but Nanjiani handles it with both a sense of humor and tactfulness that transcends tropes and stereotypes. He also communicates so thoughtfully about why breaking away from tradition and spurning the family's wishes is so difficult for someone in his shoes. A particular scene in which Kumail talks to his family "in writing" after he's fallen out with them displays a sensitivity and comic ingenuity that makes "The Big Sick" more than just a good comedy script, but a great film script period.
Then, when two serious dynamos in Holly Hunter and Ray Romano enter the picture as Emily's parents, this already hilarious and poignant comedy goes to the next level. They showcase the script's dramatic acuity while also expanding its comedic palette thanks to Hunter's sass and Romano's awkward mopeyness. The parents relationship to Kumail, their handling of the medical issues and overall the way they integrate into the story amplifies the film's sincerity.
Zoe Kazan as Emily also fits perfectly into this movie with her own naturally funny style and equally strong dramatic skills. Even though Kumail seems to be painted as the main character, Kazan ensures Emily is an equal partner in the film's events.
Independent films have been trying to blend comedy and drama in the way "The Big Sick" does so well for a long time, to the point that "The Big Sick" might not seem so original or different. But there's a freshness and an efficiency to the way the film marries personal comedy with human drama about difficult, real subjects. It hasn't been done this well since 2007's "Juno," a film that earned a Best Picture nomination and a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for its witty and blunt take on real issues facing teens and parents. That movie was positioned well for an Awards-season push, and hopefully Lionsgate is prepared to remind critics and voters about "The Big Sick" come winter.
Recognition aside, "The Big Sick" is one of those few films that come out every year that will be palatable to a wide enough array of moviegoers of diverse backgrounds and ages that it can pretty confidently be recommended to anyone (who's allowed to see R-rated movies, of course). The humor plus issues of culture, race, romance, parenting and some life-or-death stuff make for a compelling and relatable movie suited to most tastes.
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One may be tempted to say Kumail's family are the antagonists of the story. This might be true if one is trying to parse out this or that or the other with the characters, but this is over-simplification. They are an obstacle for Kumail, but really his biggest enemy is himself, how he views what his family has put on him, what his own culture has done to his mind, and at the same time reconciling with being a modern American given all the relative opportunities everyone else has. And it is at heart a love story, but what is likable and appealing is that Nanjani and Gordon cleverly make sure that the attention isn't all gone from having another love story being depicted, that of Emily's parents and their own struggle after so many years of marriage and during a stressful time.
But, of course, this stressful time isn't the only part of why their marriage is frayed (you learn more as it goes on in little bits, and it's important only for character learning/growing sake, so I dare mention it here); Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are the parents, and for the first time ever, by the way, Romano is *affable* and fun on screen. This is my own bias as I wasn't a fan of his sitcom, but more to the point I didn't get his appeal as a star or an actor or any kind of comic presence. Here I actually do as he's playing a guy who is like how one pictures a lot of dads, stumbling over some words in the presence of the guy his daughter's dating (that he's of middle-eastern descent brings up an awkward conversation at the hospital cafeteria that rolls into the biggest laugh of the movie, by the way), but he feels as real as the mother does, and the vulnerability he's in - doing things like writing down as much as he can, every medical term, when the doctors describe what's going on with their daughter - is so thick you couldn't suck it through a straw. He's so good here as is Hunter, as is everyone really, including all of Nanjani's family.
It can be difficult to depict a relationship on film, any relationship, due sometimes to what the genre of a romantic comedy or a romantic drama puts on screenwriters. Nanjani seemed to have his back covered by Apatow as there's not a shred of any of that false BS that comes sometimes into the genre. The main conflict that actually breaks up Kumail and Emily isn't contrived. (Emily by the way as played by Kazan is that lovable girl you might recall from Ruby Sparks, but *very* different here from that, except for the slightly quirky/upbeat persona). As a nitpick, it could be said Kumail's method of how he holds on to these girls his mother tries to set him up with that he refuses, all in a box on his dresser, is the one note that isn't believable, but I can actually buy that it sort of folds into how he is still unsure what to do with so many, many options at his feet (there's even one woman, later in the film, that, at another time or place, could've been the match, but he turns her down in one of those terribly uncomfortable scenes that rings true and is hard to watch).
How can Kumail reconcile this? I felt such empathy for him in this situation even as I had not gone through anything quite like what he went through, since there is still a universality that is felt through expectations from others. How does one stand up for oneself? Is it always so easy? Nanjani is a stand up comic in real life as he is in the film, and stand up at its most prime-cut is about the person on stage making honest connections and, sometimes, opening oneself so that that connection can be made purer (and, often, the laughs much more fulfilling). It's not that Kumail is at all weak as a stand-up when he talks about cheese or things, but it's when he gets his breakthrough about two-thirds of the way in, as he just breaks down on stage and, technically speaking "bombs", that he hits that spot of connection. If he can stand up as a stand-up, so to speak, then he can at least try to move on to the harder stuff, the message might be.
Or, as I originally stated, The Big Sick, a movie filled with funny and truly heart-wrenching moments and characters that all feel richly developed (even the parents and Kumail's brother, who kind of are types deep down, but nevertheless given wonderful personality by the actors playing them), it's all about the truth and how it sometimes just isn't easy, at all. It may be slightly mis-marketed as a romantic comedy though; it has romance and comedy, but at the same time the drama overwhelms and takes over that. It's not a classifiable movie except that, well, it's a Judd Apatow production - sharp, brutally honest writing, and a few s*** and d*** jokes here and there (and here less than usual). It's one of his best and a triumphant calling card for Nanjani as a leading man. 9.5/10