Every now and then someone writes a story about love. A beautiful tale of how two people meet, the ups and downs and then the big dramatic thing that either sets them apart or pulls them together. After you see the story you think to yourself: surly this can’t be real, this couldn’t possibly happen to someone. The Big Sick is one of those wonderful stories about two people meeting and falling in love. The best thing is, it’s all true. It’s the love story of writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani who is also the lead actor.
This is a film about a Comedian Kumail Nanjiani (yes he plays himself) working the scene but not really heading anywhere. During one of his stand up gigs a young girl in the audience, Emily, heckles him. After the show Kumail finds Emily at the bar and manages to get her to go home with him. This is where the magic happens. The two comically and very cutely make rules and go through all the highs and lows of dating and building a lasting relationship. You absolutely fall in love with the both of them. But the one thing holding Kumail back is his family, in particular his mother who is trying very hard to marry him off in a traditional Pakistani arranged marriage.
Kumail and Emily break up and stop talking to each other until Emily’s friend calls to say she is in hospital. Very quickly Emily’s illness worsens and Kumail is forced to approve her going into a self-induced coma. That’s when he meets Emily’s Parents and they build a lasting and loving friendship. Emily illness is cured, but things are different and she’s not interested in having a relationship anymore. So Kumail and his comedic group of misfits head to New York to try their luck in a new city. In the new city Kumail is performing his stand up show a young girl in the audience, Emily, once again heckles him.
Headlining the show is Comedian and Actor Kumail Nanjiani who you will most recognise from Silicon Valley. He has also popped up in the X-Files, Porlandia and a whole bunch of cameos here and there. For the most part Nanjiani absolutely nails the comedic, dry, awkward humour that he has come to be known for. The Big Sick gives Nanjiani the chance to showcase his range as an actor and then some. There were scenes Nanjiani had to navigate that were far from comedic. In particular when his family disowned him. Despite not being able to cry as the scene might have normally called for, he gave such a powerful delivery it was rather moving. But for the most part, he just made you laugh and smile.
Heckling Nanjiani is Emily played by Zoe Kazan. You’ll know Kazan from What If along side Daniel Radcliffe, My Blind Brother and TV series The Walker. Not the biggest name in the industry, but no doubt on her way. Kazan is the cute girl next door. She plays the confident funny girl everyone likes, but really she just wants to love and be loved in return. But she’s too much of an independent woman to show those kinds of emotions. And while her character is based on Nanjiani’s real life wife and the co-writer of The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon, their chemistry on screen is amazing, completely and utterly believable and so unbelievably adorable.
Overall The Big Sick is cute, you’ll laugh then you’ll smile for ages until you realised you’ve been smiling for ages and should probably stop. The story takes you on a roller coaster, as any good romantic comedy should. The soundtrack is tailored to the characters and the roller coaster as well. It almost has the same personality as the characters. What you have in the end is a love story, a real love story that despite all the bumps and protests along the way, they came out on top. It’s one of those great stories where they build up the characters and the relationship they have to the point where it’s almost heart breaking when they go through their own heartbreak. It’s one of those little films that are larger than life and a story well worth sharing.
Review by Jay Cook