Released July 14, 2017
Rated R (Language)
Directed by Michael Showalter (The Baxter; Hello, My Name Is Doris)
Written by and Starring Kumail Nanjiani (Michael & Michael Have Issues, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail)
Also Written by Emily V. Gordon (The Carmichael Show, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail
Cinematography by Brian Burgoyne (Sex Ed; Hello, My Name Is Doris)
Music by Michael Andrews (Donnie Darko, Bridesmaids)
Edited by Robert Nassau (Wanderlust, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp)
Produced by Judd Apatow (Pineapple Express, Trainwreck) and Barry Mendel (Unbreakable, Serenity)
Starring Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates), Zoe Kazan (Fracture, What If), Holly Hunter (O Brother, Where Art Thou?; The Incredibles), Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond, Ice Age), Anupam Kher (Bend It Like Beckham, Silver Linings Playbook), Zenobia Shroff (Little Zizou, When Harry Tries to Marry), Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions, The Dictator), Bo Burnham (Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, Rough Night), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live, Girls), Kurt Braunohler (Bob’s Burgers, Lady Dynamite), and Vella Lovell (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Girls)
Kumail and Emily met one night while he was a struggling stand-up comedian, and she was a grad student. Emily thought it would be fun to heckle Kumail, and they both thought it would be fun to meet up. Their strictly casual relationship eventually turned into something more, and, soon, the two were crazy about each other. Yet they never thought it would work out, in the end, since Nanjiani’s family were traditional Pakistanis and would shun him if he didn’t enter an arranged marriage. Still, when a frightening, eight-day, health ordeal separated the two, they gained some perspective and realized what was truly important: each other.
It would all be sappy if it weren’t all true. This is a real-life story, with a screenplay written, honestly, by the man and woman who lived it. And the things that make it so relatable are things we all deal with: How do we honor and respect our parents while pursuing our own paths? How do we continue in a relationship that could possibly disattach a piece of one of our lives? How do we deal with clashing familial, societal, and cultural pressures while maintaining our own identities and souls? How do we deal with life, with love?
This couple’s story is told wonderfully here. It’s not without faults. The pacing can be a bit uneven; the dialogue is usually true-to-life, but, at other times, it’s slightly poor; and it’s a bit overlong. Those aren’t the kinds of faults that got in the way of my enjoyment, though, and the script and direction by Showalter are good, the acting great. I especially enjoyed the realistic way Nanjiani and Kazan performed, and both sets of parents (Romano and Hunter, Kher and Shroff) are funny and down-to-earth.
I’m going to give The Big Sick a 78%.
The Big Sick has the best combination of humor and heart that I’ve seen in a while.