The Big Sick is marketed as a romantic comedy. After all, it’s based on the real-life romance between Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife Emily V. Gordon who co-wrote the screenplay together. While the movie explores their relationship, seemingly cemented during a hospitalization which lands Emily in a coma, their romance isn’t the heart of the film.
Kumail is torn between two worlds as the product of a mostly-Americanized upbringing by traditional Pakistani parents. Torn between his family’s expectations and his own desires Kumail leads two separate lives that must inevitably intersect.
Emily’s more of a free spirit who doesn’t feel the same constrictions. However, in a bit of storytelling symmetry, her mother confesses about her own disapproved romance with Emily’s father. Lest it make her parents more accepting, they challenge Kumail at every turn. As in life, nothing comes easy.
Director Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name Is Doris) creates a world in which every character feels like a star. This is a testament to the world he’s created. No matter how small a role, it feels like there’s another story. The Big Sick generates a lot of questions after the credits roll–and that’s okay.
The Big Sick stars Kumail Nanjiani as himself, Zoe Kazan as Emily, Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents Terry and Beth, respectively, and Bollywood legend Anupam Kher as Azmat, Kumail’s father.
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