The Big Sick is both: Bold and Beautiful

The Cinema Station’s Rating: A first AC journey (4.5/5)

Growing up as a Bollywood audience I have been quite well equipped to enjoy love stories and family dramas. The Big Sick portrays an aspiring Pakistani comedian, Kumail Nanjiani, subdued by the grass rooted culture and beliefs of a conservative Pakistani family, falling in love with an American, Emily. The film dwells in a romantic mood catalyzed by the befitting comedy, family drama and an enormous degree of emotion.


Now, if you have understood or even observed the traditionally conservative South Asian family culture, The Big Sick is something that would make perfect sense to you. The journey picks up on a light tone helping the audience get in the mood and gather as much information as possible about Kumail and his immediate surroundings. Some brilliant exposition covered with awkward moments, subtle background scores and stand-up performances, help this ride begin with the perfect momentum.


In his road to making it to the Montreal comedy festival finals, Kumail comes across Emily and instantly falls for her. After a lot of hitches, they begin dating but the affair does not sustain the rigid cultural boundaries set by Kumail’s family. The film does so well because it presents some intense dilemmas which an individual in Kumail’s position would actually come across. The director elaborates on the emotional conflicts of the characters involved which certainly helps the film get to a convincing end with no loose ends.


As the journey unfolds, the film gives us a peek into Kumail’s family which is really well done. An aspiring father (Anupam Kher), a hopeful and emotional mother (Zenobia Shroff), a bossy yet caring elder brother (Adeel Akhtar) and a chirpy sister in law (Shenaz Treasurywala) si the Nanjiani family for us. Michael Showalter does no wrong in painting a conservative, reserved yet comical Anglo-Pakistani family in contrast to a caring yet open minded American one. Essaying the character of Emily’s parents are, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who are introduced once their daughter enters a coma.


The film builds on relationships and emotions, but all with a pinch of comedy, which makes it even more entertaining. The makers keep it simple as far as the dialogues and music go, ensuring the focus of any scene and the story is not lost. Kumail Nanjiani pulls off a perfect version of himself while Zoe Kazan’s (Emily) moving performance power the film to a high.


The film ends with Kumail making peace between the 2 worlds; the one from where he comes and the one where he is. Despite it being from the romcom genre, The Big Sick solidifies traditional family values assuring the right balance is struck between the East and the West. Summing it up, the film is something you should definitely watch if you have a taste for quality cinema.



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