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'The Big Sick' is my favorite romantic comedy of the decade

Kumail Nanjiani as "Kumail" and Zoe Kazan as "Emily" in THE BIG SICK. Photo by Nicole Rivelli.

The Big Sick
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Michael Showalter
Writers: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Rated: R for language including some sexual references

Synopsis: Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani ) wants to be a stand-up comedian. His family just wants him to be a good Pakistani Muslim. When Kumail becomes interested in Emily (Zoe Kazan), a Caucasian American, life takes an unexpected turn.

Review: I love this movie.

There are those who look to movies for a bit of escape; I’ve been there.

Some people go to films looking to learn something; that’s me too.

These day, when it comes to romantic comedies, I’m looking for honesty. It doesn’t need to be based on a true story, but it needs to feel possible. I don’t want to be sold a fantasy, I’m looking for a story that makes me believe in impossible truths.

I didn’t realize that “The Big Sick” was based on a true story. Having never watched “Silicon Valley,” I wasn’t aware of who Kumail Nanjiani is. I did know that I’m a huge fan of Zoe Kazan, but had managed somehow to miss the film when it played at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Without question, it would have been the best film I saw at the festival this year.

“The Big Sick” is a fairly traditional romantic comedy, but it features the sort of characters that don’t typically appear in a Hollywood film. We have a Pakistani lead who comes from a traditional Muslim background who struggles with his parent’s religion and expectations. He’s a struggling stand-up comedian who is also producing a one-man show about how his family moved from Pakistan when he was younger. My life is, at least on the surface, far removed from his, but at the core our wants, fears and struggles are pretty much the same.

The aspect that I like most about “The Big Sick” is that it acknowledges that sometimes we fail the people we love. We’re not always as good or strong as we want to be. Sometimes we get a second chance and rise to the occasion. Most of the time we just wish we were given that chance to prove ourselves.

We rarely become the person our parents would like us to be, or even the person we think we want to be, but that doesn’t mean we have to be disappointments to ourselves or anyone else.

“The Big Sick” is a film about taking risks, discovering that truth and full disclosure is best decision and that sometimes love does in fact find a way.

The film is brilliantly written, performed and shot. It is funny, tragic and ultimately reassuring. If you don’t feel better about the world after seeing “The Big Sick” you must be far more cynical than me.


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