“The Big Sick” is directed by Michael Showalter and stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano. The film is based on the true story of how Kumail met his real life wife, Emily Gordon, and the struggles that they both faced regarding Kumail’s family and Emily’s sudden illness that put her into a medically-induced coma.
I was extremely excited to see this movie, as I have heard loads of hype from nearly every single critic who has seen this film already, and the wonderful trailer just added to my excitement for whenever this movie finally came near me. I also love Kumail Nanjiani outside of movies and television, and the fact that he co-wrote this film with his real wife made my expectations through the roof coming in.
Where to begin, where to begin. Starting with the performances, this is a breakout one from Kumail Nanjiani and one that could even spark some awards talk later in the year. Nanjiani is exceptional in this movie, as he somehow is able to be completely hysterical while also being full of heart and being completely capable of adding drama and emotion in some of the most pivotal scenes in the film. Sure, Nanjiani is playing himself, but that does not take away from how much he brings to his own self-portrait, as he makes this character a subtle, yet completely brilliant one, and one that adds so much to every single scene in the movie.
Kumail isn’t alone here, as Zoe Kazan is equally tremendous in her role as Emily. Kazan gives her character a ton of personality and matches Kumail with equally wonderful comedy, while also being able to pack a real emotional punch later on in the film. These two are able to have such incredible chemistry together that it makes everything in the film come off completely genuine and 100 percent believable.
I loved each and every one of the supporting performances, as they all added very important layers to not only the story, but to the lead characters as well. Ray Romano brings the comedy in a massive way, and Holly Hunter is a great counter to him with loads of emotion and power to her character. Bo Burnham is another character who is just laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish, and Adeel Akhtar is great as Kumail’s brother, Naveed. It is rare to find an ensemble that works so well to bring together various storylines, all of which feel just as important as the others.
Where “The Big Sick” separates itself from other romantic comedies is in its writing and with its character development, as both are some of the best you will see in a movie of any genre. I cared about each and every storyline that is involved in this film, as all of them are created with an equal amount of care, and are done so seamlessly together that they all build on each other as the film moves forward. I love Kumail’s dynamic with Emily’s parents, as it is not only hilarious, but also incredibly impactful, and it tells a lot about all of the characters involved. I could say the same thing about Kumail’s relationship with his own parents, or his struggle to succeed in stand-up comedy, or the issues that Emily’s parents face with each other, as there is not one side plot that falls flat and not one that doesn’t improve the main conflict that Kumail faces.
Nanjiani and Emily Gordon combined to make this script about their own life, and they did it in such an intelligent, well-crafted style that it may just be one of the best rom-com scripts of all time. The writing allows for brilliant moments of comedy that combines flawlessly with moments of pure emotion, and all while making a rather complex story that never feels overstuffed in the slightest. The two-hour runtime almost feels longer than that when in the theater, but not in a bad way, as the film feels loaded to the brim with story and character development, but it is done without ever getting cluttered, as it just feels like real life from start to finish.
I’ve touched on this, but I cannot state enough just how well everything that Nanjiani, Gordon, and director Michael Showalter attempt in this film works. Every single joke lands with no effort at all, every line of dialogue works to help build the characters that are in the film, every attempt at making the audience feel something had me in chills or in tears, and the romance shared between the two leads is done in a completely believable and realistic way that it is easy to understand motivations and decisions throughout the runtime of the movie. Everything just works, and I just could not believe how refreshing it was to watch a film work on so many levels as this one does.
“The Big Sick” is much more than a great romantic comedy, it is a superb film that transcends its usually clichéd genre to become a movie that truly feels real, and it has fantastic performances and writing behind it. Kumail Nanjiani gives the best performance of the year to date in this film, and Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, and every single member of this cast is absolutely tremendous as well, and “The Big Sick” is the movie that I have been waiting for all year, and I can finally give out my first perfect score of 2017.
What did you think of “The Big Sick”? Comment below with your thoughts.