- Emma Greenleaf
Review: "The Big Sick" (2017)
Title: The Big Sick (2017)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Michael Showalter
Stars (Primary Actors): Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter
Bias: I am not the hugest fan of romantic comedies, but the amount of hype I heard around the film made me come in with extremely high expectations. After hearing almost no bad things about this, the cynic in me almost wanted to dislike it, to stand out from the pack. But after seeing it twice and listening to countless interviews with the couple the film is based on, I couldn’t help but love it.
In a Nutshell: This is the true story of how Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon met and fell in love. It begins with them just having a little fling, as neither is really wanting to get too serious. But each soon finds they are “overwhelmed” with each other. What would be a typical meet-cute turns into so much more. Kumail’s family want him to follow with tradition and marry a Pakistani woman. Emily finds out about this and they break up. Kumail soon finds out that Emily is in the hospital and she’s seriously ill. This life or death situation helps everyone learn what’s truly important in life.
The Critique: The name… oh, the name. I don’t have any suggestions about what it should have been, but this name is confusing, nonsensical, and just kinda dumb.
With how progressive this movie is, it has not steered completely clear of controversy. The way that Pakistani women are portrayed in the film could definitely have been better. Showing each of them as completely complicit within the system Nanjiani is so against presents them as one-dimensional. The only alternative viewpoint I can offer on this is that it’s Kumail’s story, and his experience had a definite effect on the way the women are characterized.
Shout-Outs: Judd Apatow and Michael Showalter’s expertise with this film elevated an already cinematic story to a modern classic romantic comedy. Setting it in present day rather than the mid 2000’s when the couple actually met was such a good idea to make this feel fresh and relatable. Showalter has proved himself a master of the tender love story with 2015 film Hello, My Name is Doris. Apatow is, of course, the modern master of the relatable romantic comedy and a superstar producer to have on board. With this dream team, the movie truly couldn’t fail.
The writing by Nanjiani and Gordon is something only a real-life couple would be able to pull off. The tenderness and warmth of the film is impeccably done for these first-time film writers. Not to mention, it’s one of the funniest movies of the year as well.
Choice Quote: I don’t want to give away any of the best jokes, but one of the first interactions between Kumail and Ray Romano’s character absolutely killed both times I saw the film and it makes me chuckle to myself even thinking about it.
Also, almost any line that comes out of Aidy Bryant and Bo Burnham’s mouths is a full on laugh out loud moment. The two are a surprise hit as a comedic duo, always riffing off each other, often at Kumail’s expense and it’s always hilarious.
To Go, Rent or Netflix:
If you have the option to, see this in theaters! To laugh, cry, and smile with a room full of people has become a dying experience. This film really takes you through the ringer of emotions, and you come out of it a less cynical person, willing to believe in love again.