The Big Sick-a fantastic romantic comedy directed by one of the most talented directors- Michael Showalter. It is a film based on the true story of the protagonist- Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon. It is a mature movie about relationships, cultural traditions and commitment. A movie written very differently with a lot more depth and emotions than a regular rom-com. It is not only a romantic movie but also a hilarious one with lots of laugh-out loud moments. Showalter has succeeded in creating authentic characters who feel like one of us.
Nanjiani, who decided to play his role himself, is a cab driver and a struggling comedian in the movie. He has managed to give the best performance till now and it can be rightly said that he has outdone himself. His wife, the beautiful Zoe Kazan, in the movie, is an American student who heckled him in one of the stand-up gigs and then agreed to go home with him the same night. The mood of the movie is light and funny in their perfect dating time.
The conflict comes when Nanjiani decides to hide his relationship with Emily from his narrow minded Muslim clan. He knew for sure that his family would disown him after knowing about them, especially his mother, Zenoba Shroff. His Pakistani parents kept Pakistan and its traditions very much alive in their hearts and wanted their son to marry a Muslim girl. This was the greatest risk which Nanjiani was unwilling to take. This turned things ugly between him and Emily, who breaks their relationship after knowing his decision.
Unlike a typical rom-com, which could have just featured the movie around this tragedy, the movie decides to mirror the real life. Emily contracts an infection and has to be hospitalized where she goes into coma which is medically induced for her own well being. This twist makes an entrance of Emily’s parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano). This not only leads to tension in their charming courtship but also pushes the film and Kumail in different directions.
The wonderful part of the movie is the balance maintained by Showalter in emotions, tensions and comedy. Despite so much tension in the movie, Nanjiani and Emily (his real wife and the writer of this movie) could bring in elements of comedy by cracking jokes about ISIS and Terry’s wish to talk to a Muslim about the 9/11 attacks. It is undeniably a warm movie but not letting it get boring is an excellent work done by the writer and the director. They aren’t afraid of talking about the dark comedy. Moreover, Emily’s parents’ entry leads to a better understanding between them and Nanjiani with of course, comedy always being in the background. Holly and Ray’s outstanding performances added a lot to this unique rom-com.
This movie is the best piece of art created by the director, Showalter. His excellence of craftsmanship has been seen in his previous works as well. However, through this movie we could see that each and every actor of the movie has been allowed a room to shine. Every actor has been focused upon. Be it Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant or Kurt Braunohler as his standup pals or his Muslim clan with Anupam Kher, Shroff, Shenza Treasurywala or Adeel Akhtar. All the authentic characters proved that Showalter has definitely has an eye for talent which beautifies his movies further.
This romantic and original movie has certainly won hearts of even the most skeptical of audiences. Its most winning quality is certainly its ordinariness to which everyone can relate. The cultural difference is seen through the protagonist’s eyes. His constant dilemma of being unable to choose between his homeland-Pakistan and the new world that he has stepped into can be seen in the movie. Yet Nanjiani did an amazing job with his unmatchable expressions and also through his frequent visits to his family. These visits are few of the best and the most hilarious scenes of the movie where his doting family is constantly in search of a Muslim bride for him.
“The big sick”-the names of the movies is appropriate as in the beginning, the movie appeared to be a typical rom-com with the casual dating and hanging out together. Both, Nanjiani and Emily wanted to keep it a short-term relationship. However, the things change because of ‘the big sick’, that is, Emily’s serious illness which changed Nanjiani completely and made him realize his deep love and care for Emily. This climax highlights the mix of emotions that Showalter was trying to portray.
This film is a master piece mainly because of the quality of ordinariness where even the main hero is shown as a normal man whose apartment is always in a mess and who is struggling for a perfect livelihood with a lot of ups and downs in his personal life.