The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Amazon Film
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Written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick is the story of how they fell in love and their struggles as their cultures clashed. Great heartfelt romcom.

The Big Sick is a romantic comedy-drama film released in 2017. It was directed by Michael Showalter and written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, who also starred in the film.

The movie is based on the real-life romance between Gordon and Nanjiani and their unusual journey to love.

Despite its meagre budget of just $5 million, The Big Sick was a hit with fans and grossed over $56 million. It also received critical acclaim upon its screenplay was even nominated for an Academy Award.

So what is it all about, and is it worth watching?

What is The Big Sick About?

The Big Sick takes a brave, fresh approach at the traditional romantic comedy. The story revolves around Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian living in Chicago. He is in a relationship with Emily Gardner, portrayed by Zoe Kazan.

Kumail, a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian, meets Emily, a white American woman, at one of his comedy shows. Despite their cultural differences, they form a deep connection and begin dating.

However, Kumail's traditional Pakistani family has different plans for him. They expect him to marry a Pakistani woman and disapprove of his relationship with Emily.

As Kumail and Emily navigate their relationship, they confront the clash between their respective backgrounds and the pressure to conform to family expectations. Kumail life is turned upside down as he struggles to balance his love for Emily with the fear of disappointing his family. These conflicts ultimately lead to a breakup.

Shortly after their separation, Emily contracts a mysterious illness and is placed in a medically induced coma. Kumail rushes to the hospital, where he meets Emily's feisty parents, Terry and Beth.

Initially, their interactions are tense and awkward, but as they spend time together during Emily's illness, they develop a unique bond rooted in their shared concern for her well-being.

Throughout Emily's medical crisis, Kumail grapples with his own emotions and reevaluates his priorities. He confronts the cultural pressures imposed by his family and recognises the importance of pursuing his own dreams and desires.

As Emily's health gradually improves, they reunite, understanding that their love for each other transcends cultural boundaries. The film concludes with a touching scene of Kumail introducing Emily to his family, indicating their willingness to accept and embrace their relationship.

The film explores love, cross-cultural themes, and the complexities of family dynamics. It also touches on Kumail's journey of self-discovery as he confronts his own prejudices and learns to navigate his own true feelings and dreams.

The Big Sick Official Trailer

Is The Big Sick Worth Watching?

The wonderful thing about this film is that Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon wrote the screenplay about their real-life courtship. It is a brutally honest expose of their courtship and their own relationships with their families.

One of the film's strengths lies in its authenticity and relatability. The movie delves into the complexities of multicultural relationships, family expectations, and personal identity.

The story feels genuine and honest, allowing audiences to connect with the characters and their struggles on a deep emotional level.

It also boasts a talented cast that delivers exceptional performances. Kumail Nanjiani showcases his comedic and dramatic range, effortlessly navigating the film's emotional ups and downs.

Zoe Kazan brings warmth and vulnerability to her role as Emily, while Ray Romano and Holly Hunter deliver standout performances as Emily's parents, adding depth and humour to the narrative.

It's always tricky trying to strike a balance between comedy and drama but The Big Sick makes it looks effortless. It skillfully incorporates humour into serious situations, using it as a coping mechanism and a way to explore difficult topics.

The comedy adds levity to the story without diminishing the weight of the emotional moments. However, it's not a perfect film and there are a couple of aspects that could have been improved upon.

The pacing in the second act of the film is slightly uneven. As the story focuses on the dynamics between Kumail and Emily's parents while she is in a coma, the narrative loses momentum and became slightly stagnant.

And, although the film is primarily based on Kumail's experiences, it would have been nice to see more of the story from Emily's perspective. Expanding her character development and providing more insight into her thoughts and feelings could have enhanced the overall depth of the narrative.

That said, The Big Sick is a terrific romcom and is a whole lot better than some of the offerings being churned out today.

Cast Of The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani (Eternals) as Kumail, a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian who lives in Chicago. He finds himself caught between his traditional Pakistani family's expectations of an arranged marriage and his growing love for Emily, an American white woman.

Zoe Kazan as Emily Gardner, an aspiring therapist and Kumail's love interest. Their relationship faces challenges when Emily becomes seriously ill and is placed in a coma.

Holly Hunter as Beth Gardner, Emily's mother, a strong-willed and protective woman. She initially clashes with Kumail but later develops an unexpected bond with him as they both navigate Emily's health crisis.

Ray Romano (The Irishman) as Terry Gardner, Emily's father, a laid-back and supportive man. He, too, initially struggles to accept Kumail but gradually warms up to him.

Anupam Kher as Azmat, Kumail's father and a traditional Pakistani man who wants Kumail to follow their cultural and religious traditions.

Zenobia Shroff as Sharmeen, Kumail's mother, who also adheres to traditional Pakistani values and hopes for Kumail to embrace his heritage.

Adeel Akhtar as Naveed, Kumail's brother, who is married and follows the expectations of their family more closely. He often serves as a bridge between Kumail and their parents.

Bo Burnham as CJ, Kumail's close friend and fellow comedian. He provides support and advice to Kumail throughout his personal and professional struggles.

Aidy Bryant as Mary, Kumail's friend and fellow comedian. She offers comedic relief and shares a genuine friendship with Kumail.

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  • Wonderful Story
  • Overwhelmingly Honest Script
  • Heartwarming
  • Funny


  • Predictable Interracial Jokes
  • Pacing Loses Momentum At Times


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