Friday, July 7, 2017

The Big Sick - Review

The romantic comedy. A time-honored tradition of Hollywood that sees film upon film try to muster up the magic of those that came before, most to no avail. And yet every so often a film comes along to breathe new life into the tired subgenre and this year it just so happens to be The Big Sick. A film about love, death, and the humor in all of our lives, The Big Sick finds a way to pull on every emotion you could fathom, and then some.

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is a Pakistani comic who meets an American graduate student named Emily (Zoe Kazan) at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her. When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her deeply concerned mother and father (Holly Hunter & RayRomano).

Based on the real life romance of its writers, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick presents a less classic sense of storytelling that comes with a romantic comedy. The classics still play as they would, but the film manages to steer clear of most tropes or clichés often associated with the subgenre. The natural relationship that forms and the inherent cultural divide provide not only laughs but adds to the drama as well. The Big Sick then weaves these elements together seamlessly for a film that is beautiful from start to finish.

Kumail Nanjiani is in an interesting position here. He lived these moments, in some form or another, and in many ways is able to pull from that to deliver a stellar performance. Of course his fictionalized wife, played by Zoe Kazan, must earn the love of the audience in the same way she earns Kumail’s love in order for the illness she experiences to pack a punch. And Kazan, in her time-spent conscious, is charming and quirky and does exactly what she needed to for the audience to love her just the same. The exemplary performances from Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who feel perfectly paired, round out a cast that really brought their A game to the table.

Once again, the writing is superb, drawing on comedy and drama from the real lives of Emily and Kumail. The titular sickness is in fact big and terrifying for all the characters and yet the comedy remains in the darkest moments to almost deepen the film in a way. The Big Sick feels so incredibly real, from the interactions to the character themselves; every ounce is rich with emotion and depth.


Overall, The Big Sick lives up to the astounding amount of hype surrounding it. The emotional weight of it all, the characters, and the comedy will have audiences falling in love with the film over and over again. Gordon and Nanjiani takes a subgenre that’s largely fallen on hard times and take it in a new 21st Century direction. Though it may still be summer, it appears as though The Big Sick may just win big when the time comes.

So what did you think of The Big Sick? Have you seen it? Are you interested in seeing it? Share, subscribe, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.