The Big Sick – Film Review
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter
Director: Michael Showalter
Synopsis: Charting the true story of Kumail and Emily as they fall in love, but their differences in culture prove to be a tricky test for their relationship, which is compounded when Emily is hospitalised…
Review: As the famous Johnny Cash song Ring of Fire goes, ” Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring.” It kind of goes without saying that meeting someone and falling in love with them can be delightful, but it can also be an experience that can be very testing for everyone. It won’t be all sunshine and rainbows all the time, there will be tricky times and it is in those times, that people can really show who they are, and why they just might be worth spending the rest of your life with.
Based on the real life story of Kumail Nanjiani (played by the real Kumail Nanjiani) a comedian in Chicago trying to make his name on the comedy circuit. He runs into Emily (Kazan) during a gig, and the two begin a romance, but for Kumail, there’s one small problem. His very traditional parents want to set him up in an arranged marriage with a Pakistani bride, but Kumail is not interested in any of that. Unfortunately as their relationship hits a snag, Emily falls gravely ill and is forced into a medically induced coma and with the help of Emily’s Mum and Dad (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) the three of them sit by Emily’s bedside.
You would think in a film that is centred on someone falling into a coma, that the film’s script might be a bit bereft of laughter, but quite the contrary. The script written by Nanjiani and the real Emily V Gordon really packs plenty of laughter with some really funny jokes, especially considering one or two are quite dark in terms of the humour. Yet they don’t fall flat, and they almost always hit the mark and in quite some style too. Taking full advantage of modern technology to tell the story, the chemistry between our leads is very sincere and it feels almost like you’re watching the real lives of these people.
What’s more, as this clashing of cultures situation is becoming more and more common in our ethnically diverse world, the dilemma that Emily and Kumail find themselves in is likely a dilemma that many couples have felt at some point. In thia respect it feels that much more authentic. Thus when it is revealed that Emily has fallen ill, the audience shares Kumail’s concerns and you find yourself scared wondering if she’s going to make it.
Even after Emily is taken ill, the jokes do not stop, but this is thanks to Emily’s parents Terry and Beth. Romano plays Terry as your sort of lovable compassionate father who is funny and heartfelt all at the same time. Meanwhile Holly Hunter channels the fierce matriarchal spirit that she put into voicing Mrs Incredible (AKA Elastigirl) from the Incredibles so effortlessly. Though she doesn’t exactly take kindly to Kumail at first, to see the three of them go through their experience for the person they mutually care about so much is extremely heart-warming and they make an effective trio of comedy.
There are moments where the script does falter a little bit, particularly with a few of Kumail’s comedian friends that aren’t fleshed out at all really. It does make the film perhaps drag on for longer than it needs to be. Nevertheless, this film is a timely reminder of that even in a society that has become more and more diverse, controversy still surrounds cross-cultural relationships, which is ridiculous. Above all though, this film teaches that no matter what creed or colour you are, love knows no boundaries, and that should always be celebrated.