A different kind of romantic comedy, The Big Sick follows the courtship between a Pakistani comic (Kumail Nanjiani) and a graduate student (Zoe Kazan). Their one-night stand blossoms into a relationship that complicates Kumail’s life. Having chosen an unusual career direction, he doesn’t wish to further upset his traditional Muslim parents, who are busy arranging a suitable marriage for him. After discovering Kumail’s box of brides, Emily objects to being treated as a guilty secret and ends the relationship.
The trajectory of their lives changes when Emily comes down with a mysterious infection that leaves her in a medically-induced coma. At first hesitant, Kumail joins Emily’s parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), at the hospital.
With Emily “asleep,” the focus of the movie switches to the relationships between Kumail and both sets of parents. Beth and Terry slowly warm up to Kumail while tensions mount with Kumail’s ebullient father (Anupam Kher) and his controlling mother (Adheel Akhtar).
The four supporting characters deliver strong performances, infusing humor into the storyline. Holly Hunter could easily garner an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
From the start, we know there will be a happily-ever-after. This romantic comedy is based on the real-life relationship between the co-writers, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. As photos of Kumail and the real Emily flashed over the closing credits, I found myself wondering about the inter-generational relationships. When did Kumail’s parents stop “ghosting” him and accepting Emily? Is a sequel in the works?
Hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking, The Big Sick is a film worth seeing.