Ah! It’s good to be back. I haven’t done a review in a while. A long while. Partly because I haven’t had time or motivation to do one because I’m slowly being beat to death at work. But mostly because I hadn’t watched anything I felt was worth reviewing. So many things I’d watched recently were either un-reviewable like The Great British Baking Show (YEAH SO WHAT IT’S AN AWESOME SHOW), or they were just so downright terrible that I didn’t feel like writing a review.
I’m tired of being negative. I really am. A lot of people have it a lot worse than I do, so why complain? And that’s when it hit me: I should write a review of The Big Sick (speaking of people having it worse off than me). I mean, not that a now-famous comedian and writer have it worse off than me, but someone with an illness and being hospitalized and put into a medically induced coma…you know what, just keep reading.
I finally got to see The Big Sick this weekend after hearing about how awesome it was for almost a full year. When I saw that it was available on Prime, I jumped on it quick.
If you’re not familiar with The Big Sick, it’s the true story of Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American comedian, his wife Emily Gordon, a psychologist turned producer, and how they came to be together. It starts out as a cute dating rom-com, but quickly goes dark as Emily is put into a medically induced coma to combat an infection in her lungs. Obviously, if you’re familiar with Nanjiani and Gordon’s work, then you’ll know that she doesn’t die and that they eventually get married, but the movie only goes up to Kumail’s moving to New York (and Emily coming after him).
The two main characters meet in the very beginning of the film and we see little snippets of their developing relationship, but that’s quickly cut short when she’s admitted to the hospital. That honestly didn’t give the writers much time to craft any sort of development between the two. This made the fight at the end of the first act (and some parts of the rest of the film) miss its mark, but that’s easily forgivable. The rest of the story is so jam-packed with character development that you almost forget that Emily even exists.
Almost is the key word there. Even as Emily’s parents, played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, become more tolerant and accepting of Kumail, therefore becoming a bigger part of the story, Emily plays an important role in the background. Emily is a glue that binds the main characters together. It’s pretty strange that a character with hardly any lines through more than half of the film is so important to the plot.
Although Kumail’s relationship with Emily’s parents is important, his relationship with his own parents is also an important plot point of the film. Although moving to the US at a young age, Kumail is still Pakistani, and his parents grew up and got married there. They still expect him to practice Islam and participate in Pakistani customs. This proves difficult for Kumail, and we’re constantly reminded of this as we see him struggle with his personal culture (when he goes into the basement and pretends to pray but instead plays on his Gameboy), and his parents’ culture (arranged marriage, practicing Islam, etc.).
It’s something we can all relate to, not wanting to disappoint our parents. That’s one of the things this film does really well. It makes you relate to it. Even if you can’t relate to your significant other being hospitalized and put into a coma or your parents disowning you for not marrying who they want you to, there are little bits and pieces throughout the film that you can relate to. Yes most of those moments are about caring and mushy lovey-dovey crap, but it’s written in a real way, not shoved down your throat like other rom-coms. Its written for real people, by real people.
The acting in The Big Sick might not be the best. It also probably isn’t the most beautifully shot film of 2017. But one thing’s for sure; The Big Sick has some of the best writing of any film I’ve seen for some time. It’s relatable. It’s funny. It’s simple (but not so simple as to talk down to the viewer). It makes you want to keep watching. And it’s all thanks to the writing. I usually despise rom-coms, but this is one you can’t pass up.
See The Big Sick if one of the following is true for you.
- You are/have ever been in love.
- You enjoy funny funny jokes.
- You are a human being.