THE BIG SICK Review: 10 (The Rom-Com We all Deserve)
This reviewer doesn't really dig the Romantic/Comedy genre. In working and writing reviews for seven years, my guess is I probably gave less than a dozen a positive review. And if you go to my page of "Really Good Days"--the films I give strong recommendations to, there are less than 5 listed. Why is that? Mostly because they are all cut from the same cloth and terribly conventional. Maybe because I am cynical. And possibly because Rom-Coms as a genre are the sort of cotton candy of cinema--pretty to look at and sweet, but typically leave a bad aftertaste.
Which makes THE BIG SICK rare.
So rare that it is the first of its genre in which I offer a "10" score. Meaning that when compared to other movies of its kind (which is how I come about creating my score--always trying to compare apples to apples, films to films, genre to genre) THE BIG SICK stands far above other romantic comedies. Meaning that it offers something so special and unique that it deserves to stand out. Meaning that if you haven't already secured tickets and made plans to see this film you should stop reading now and go do that.
OK...well read a bit further then go do that.
Directed by Michael Showalter, the film is rooted in a real romance story, taken from a screenplay written by the real life couple themselves-- Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. It stars Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar and Anupam Kher. Kumail is a Pakistan-born aspiring comedian (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his stand-up sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into a real romance between the two. But due to cultural differences, this complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met. Through the crisis, Kumail deals with the emotional tug-of-war between his own family and his heart. Though it isn't much of a stretch to play yourself in a movie, this is clearly a passion project for Nanjiani and it shows on screen. Furthermore, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are a joy to watch here--in particular Hunter whose feisty presence brings electricity to every scene she is in. Greater than that is that the romance between Emily and Kumail which is fraught with racial, cultural, and familial differences. This is the love story America needs-- the love affair between a Southern white girl and a Pakistani Muslim. Not only is the film laugh out loud funny, it has a weight and heft to it that makes it feel more important.
THE BIG SICK is one of the best films of 2017 and is a huge leap forward for the genre. Not only is it a film that should be seen...it deserves to be seen. Your heart (and your funny bone) will thank you later.