This is one of the big ones and also one I’m looking forward to. It’s definitely worth the hype.
Synopsis: “THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail, who connects with grad student Emily 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 who he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. (Elevation Pictures)
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, and Holly Hunter
Writers: Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
Director: Michael Showalter
Running Time: 119mins
Romantic comedies, for the most part, are all the same so it’s definitely nice to see a new film come along and takes this tired genre into a new, fresh direction. One of the biggest problems of these films is a lack of believability within the storyline. What sets this one apart is that the story dealt with real people facing real situations and it was this realism that made it even more compelling to watch.
The story is based on the real life meeting of standup comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily (Kazan). Their first meeting went as one would expect. They were good together until Kumail’s family’s Pakistani traditions began to get in the way. Caught between his family and his new life, he didn’t want to lose either so he played both sides in an attempt to keep both but that can obviously only go so far.
Kumail still loved his family but he didn’t want to follow any of their traditions, wanting more of a life of his own. He wanted to find his own identity instead of being defined by them. This led to some fun dinner table scenes where they would play with these traditions without portraying the family as stereotypes. Suffice it to say, they did not want him to marry a white girl.
Kumail and Emily were fun together although they ultimately didn’t last long, at least at first, soon after they broke up, Emily was sick and had to be placed into a medically-induced coma. They may not have known each other very well but he got the chance once he met Emily’s parents Beth (Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) who were initially apprehensive of him. Not only did Kumail have to navigate around his own family, he had to do the same with them. Over that time, they were fun to watch as they learned more about one another and grew closer in the process.
Comedy played an important role within the plot as it helped characters to get through tough situations. There is plenty of comedy in everyday situations and the film tapped into this, effectively balancing lighter and heavier scenes and while also pulling out some genuinely hilarious scenes from this. The dialog was smart and genuine, emphasizing the film’s considerable sense of realism.
The acting was great across the board with the chemistry between the four leads making them fun to watch together and reinforced the family element. Nanjiani was engaging to watch as he was relatable and showed range where he was funny when he needed to be and also dramatic when he needed to be, succeeding at both. Kazan was good too but there wasn’t enough of her and Nanjiani. Hunter and Romano were excellent as Emily’s parents, adding an emotional touch while having some funny moments of their own.
Overall, this was a very funny and smartly-written romantic comedy, finding humor in everyday situations lived by real, likeable people with real problems. This sense of realism and the great performances all around made it even more compelling to watch and sets it above other films in the genre.
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