Film Review: The Big Sick

The Big Sick is one of the year’s best films. Michael Showalter’s romcom is very humorous and genuinely heartfelt.

Pakistan-born comedian Kumail and student Emily fall in love, but he is reluctant to tell his family he is dating someone from a different background. When Emily contracts a mystery illness, Kumail is forced to meet her parents, and confront his own feelings…

Directed by Michael Showalter and written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick is the semi-autobiographical tale of the writers’ romance. As such, the film has a genuine feel that engages with viewers in a wonderful way. The film has a great tone to it; the film transitions from comedy and drama in an effortless manner. Characters in the film are well crafted and develop in a believable fashion. The interactions between the various characters are equally convincing.

The Big Sick hinges on a culture clash dynamic, as Kumail struggles with his family’s expectations and his own wishes. His family wish to set him up with a potential wife from the Pakistani community, whilst he is secretly dating Emily. This subject matter is dealt with with humour and emotion. There are the amusing set ups of the ‘unexpected’ dinner guest, but also Kumail’s struggle at trying to please everyone. The reason the film works is that it concentrates on the personal. It is a story of a man dealing with these various issues, rather than a comment on cultural traditions on a wider scale. In exploring this culture clash topic, Nanjiani and Gordon offer a promising message of cohesion; one that needed to be reaffirmed in the current climate.

Kumail Nanjiani is very watchable playing a version of himself. Zoe Kazan is also good in the film. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are well cast as Emily’s parents. Their scenes with Kumail in particular are great to watch. The Big Sick is one of the best romantic comedies of recent years – a very enjoyable watch.

The Big Sick is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 20th November 2017.

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