The Big Sick

The Big Sick. The title itself doesn’t really give much away. When I told people I wanted to see this film, they just looked at me blankly and couldn’t quite get their head around the title. Once I explained a little about the film, that someone gets an illness in it, they understand it a bit.

The film is based on the real-life relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, which you find out at the end of the film, with pictures of them both shown alongside the credits.
Kumail, who is played by the real life Kumail Nanjiani, is a Pakistan born Uber driver with an aspiration for stand up, based in Chicago. He is doing a stint one night and he get heckled by a young lady in the crowd. After his set, he speaks to her at the bar, woos her with some Urdu and yes, as you guessed they have a one night stand together.
Things start to develop between them and things become more than just a one night stand. This becomes an issue for Kumail, whose family are traditional Muslims and eager for him to be a part of an arranged marriage.
Each meal he has at his parents, the Mum always invites a new ‘wife’ for him to consider, but pretends that they have just ‘dropped by’. Each time he drops the photo and the ‘CV’ of the new potential in an old cigar box.
We all know what is going to happen. Emily finds the box and is horrified that he all these women’s pictures. It then expands that he hasn’t told his family about her and he doesn’t actually imagine a world where the two of them can be together.
As you’d expect, they broke up.
Kumail, one night, as he is hooking up with another woman (!) that he picked up in the comedy club, gets a phone call from Emily’s friend, urging him to go to hospital as Emily collapsed at work and is in ER.
Long story short, the illness is in fact an infection and Kumail, has to sign to put her into a medically induced coma. He calls her parents to let them know.
The rest of the film, you see Kumail build a relationship with Emily’s family and learn to deal with the cultural differences and what he wants from life.

I won’t say how it ends as don’t want to spoil it for you all, but the ending is sweet. You’re in for a treat.

What did I think of this film? Well, you could really tell this was an independent film. There was nothing special about the filming or the story line, but with its simplicity, it told the story of a couple who were confronted with cultural differences with their traditions trying to make it work in the 21st century.
It was a mixture of comedy and romance. The comedy wasn’t side splitting, but it was genuine. The audience in the cinema sure chuckled a good few times.
I couldn’t work out what I thought at first. I felt a bit awkward as the characters were both uncomfortable and it didn’t feel natural. But thinking about it, that’s life. That’s how you are when you first meet someone. The chemistry between Kumail and Zoe Kazan (who plays Emily Gordon) is captivating and you could be forgiven for mistaken that these two were an item off screen.

It isn’t just those two who make up the film. Without both their families, you wouldn’t have had the humour, the awkwardness, the confrontation, the emotions or the story.

It was so good to see Ray Romano back in acting. As a character who I haven’t seen for a while, I only think of him as the man he played in Everybody Loves Raymond. However, although he stills plays a bit of an aloof character, he is so sincere in how he plays it. He bounces off well with his on screen wife (Holly Hunter) and their differences are stark. The way they played the worry parents, Beth (Holly Hunter), proactive and determined where as Ray was a bit more wary and paying attention to every little detail. Every new medical word mentioned, you’d see Ray writing down, asking how it is spelt, repeatedly asking questions to ensure he understood and fight of the sense of feeling helpless in being able to help his daughter.

My favourite part of the film, was watching Kumail build a relationship with Emily’s parents. When they first meet the parents, in particular Beth, was cold and reluctant to accept Kumail after the way he had treated their daughter. They slowly come to understand one another, and although there are many awkward moments, for the viewers, the wit and abruptness when dealing with sensitive issues, make the film.

Kumail’s family, they make the entertainment. Although I had never seen the actors before, apart from the brother Naveed who was played by Adeel Akhtar, they were brilliant. The Mum was eager to get Kumail married to a Muslim lady, and the methods she went to, with always insisting they just happened to drop by, never seemed to get old. The Dad’s character, I felt sorry for him! He had a loyalty to his wife but loved his son and wanted the best for him. He is a character and provides plenty of humour and affection throughout and you can’t help but fall in love with him as a father figure!

I really haven’t done this film justice. The story line, the characters, the humour, the topics, it makes for a unique film and a nice change to what I normally see at the cinema. It wasn’t a traditional Rom-Com or Chick flick but something that the whole family can relate to and appreciate. You come out of the cinema feeling good and appreciating the love you have for your family, even if they are a little crazy!

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