THE BIG SICK
SYNOPSIS: Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents.
When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.
Let me start by stating that I am a sucker for Rom-Coms. One of my all time favorites is the Holiday. There is a scene in which Eli Wallach explains to Kate Winslet what a “meet-cute” is. Well, let me tell you, this movie starts with a meet cute. Kumail (as himself) is a young Pakistani standup comedian trying to make a life for himself, on his own terms while at the same time trying to please his traditional Muslim parents.
So where’s the meet-cute you ask? Well, imagine that a cute girl heckles your act and you end up going on what you truly planed to be a one night stand that goes on and on. The girl in question, American graduate student, Emily (Zoe Kazan) is cute and quirky. He likes her, she likes him and even though they both keep saying they don’t have time for a real relationship, what they are both living is a real relationship. So you would think the next step is meeting the parents, right? That’s what Emily thinks, but Kumail, not so much. At least once a week, he has dinner with his family, at which he must endure questions about what he plans to do with his life, why he is not a lawyer yet, and such. And then there’s the awkward and cringe “oh look who just dropped by” moments as his mom persistently tries to match him up with a good Pakistani girl. The line up of young ladies is actually one the many funny aspects in the movie for the audience but in a pivotal scene is not so funny to our leading lady, Emily.
As usually happens, life intervenes and our love birds go their own way. Things get pretty serious and life changing experiences follow. I’m talking stuff that can only happen in movies and yet, believe it or not, this is a true story. Emily falls ill, Kamail is the only one available to take responsibility whilst meeting her parents, for the first time. Whew! Speaking of Emily’s parents, they are wonderfully played by Ray Romano as the submissive, guilty husband, and Holly Hunter as the neurotic, grudge holding wife.
On a side note, you get a pretty good glimpse of the ins and outs of the life of struggling stand up comics in Chicago. I got a kick out of my son Ralphie recognizing one of Kumail’s friends/stand-up comics, Bo Burnham. He quotes and talks about him all the time. Can I just tell you that although there is a serious real life subject going on, this film can’t help but be anything but funny when you realize that Judd Apatow is one of the producers.
Ralphie, who is 15 years old by the way, said that he didn’t expect to “feel all the feels” this move gave him and yet loved it because of that. Go see this movie, for comedy, go see it for the romance, go see it with your honey or your kid, but just go see it, will ya?
Review By Priscilla
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