The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter is a romcom / drama rolled into one, sort of following the real life of Kumail Nanjiani, essentially playing himself as a Pakistani stand up comedian living the USA who falls for an American woman, forcing him to keep secrets and create a rift with his family that he has to confront, alongside an illness his girlfriend contracts. The film stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff and Adeel Akhtar.
This is a pretty different type of romcom in my view, being more or less a story based on a real person in Kumail Nanjiani, who basically plays himself in the role, we get a real taste of his sense of humour and personality which feels authentically like him, if you’ve seen him in past TV shows or interviews and this helps to make more of an emotional connection with Kumail in my opinion. This could have worked just as well with Kumail and the story being fictional but with the story being real (Kumail is now married to writer Emily Gordon who Emily in the story is based on) it’s all the more impactful.
The emotional aspect to the story was much more pronounced than I thought it would be actually, played quite subtly but it hits heavy, I was expecting a lot more laugh out loud moments than there were but the humour is done well nonetheless, not forcing in jokes every 5 seconds but using smart, sarcastic comedy at key moments. This is helped by the script being written by Kumail and Emily themselves, who lived the experience so this helps to add authenticity to it, the scenes involving Kumails family in particular are some of the funniest and also the most relatable, despite cultural and religious differences between his family and yours, you can probably relate to wanting to please your parents, despite their plans for you maybe being different to your own life plans.
And in that the story really resonated with me, because of potential awkwardness when dealing with family in your adulthood, especially if you’re living in a western country that you weren’t born in or even if you were, with parents that are still very traditional and conservative – a source of comedy for sure but another thing that I’m sure a lot of young adults in the US face everyday. The performances in the film are also really good, Kumail is great in playing well, himself and he brings a reserved yet surprisingly emotional touch to the story, playing off really well with Zoe Kazan who plays Emily and is pretty fantastic at it, nailing the emotional rollercoaster that is her relationship with Kumail with all the twists and turns that accompany it.
I like that the film also doesn’t exactly go the way you think it will either, keeping you guessing as to what will happen and it’s a more accurate representation of real life and not a fictional story, again helping with relatability and engagement in my view. The Big Sick is a funny, touching film with more emotional impact than you may expect going into it.
. Great performances from main leads, especially Zoe Kazan
. Well done comedy spread throughout, without taking away from dramatic moments
. Engaging plot