The Big Sick is One of 2017’s Best Films

Kumail Nanjiani as "Kumail" and Zoe Kazan as "Emily" in THE BIG SICK. Photo by Sarah Shatz.

The Big Sick is one of the best films to come out so far in 2017.

Directed by Michael Showalter from a screenplay written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick stars Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler.  Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel produce.

To say that this film is a laugh riot would not be an understatement.  It is without a doubt the best comedy I’ve seen in 2017 and that’s despite a plot that features one of the main characters in a medically-induced coma.  Give credit to both of the writers of which the movie is based.  After all, it’s based on their life and the events that transpired while they were dating and in the months leading up to their marriage a decade ago.  It’s a challenge from a filmmaking standpoint to have the love interest completely absent during the second act but that’s what is done here and the film wouldn’t be a success any other way.

Kumail is a Pakistan native and a comedian–people who are family with the comedy scene or watch Silicon Valley already know this.  His parents stick to their custom and attempt to arrange a marriage for him.  At every family dinner, there just happens to be another woman who just happens to drop in because they were in the neighborhood.  Only it wasn’t just a chance meeting.  These were planned and Kumail just doesn’t have it in him to let his family know that he’s dating this white girl, Emily (Kazan).

A chance meeting with Emily, who is studying to be a therapist, after a set soon turns into a relationship.  As if Kumail’s life isn’t already complicated enough, he has to hide Emily from his family.  It’s not until she’s weeks into her coma that he finally tells his parents.  They broke up initially because he couldn’t tell them.  Even though they break up, Kumail is still there for her.  If not for him lying and saying he’s her husband, she’s not medically induced into a coma so that the doctors can figure out what is wrong with her.  It’s up to him to call Emily’s parents, Beth and Terry Gardner (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), and break the news.  Kumail spends so much time with them as they pray for doctors to figure out what is causing the infection.

A chance meeting with Judd Apatow following SXSW in 2012 led to the comedian pitching some ideas for a film. Without that meeting, we don’t get what is hands-down one of the best films of 2017 and it would have been an injustice to movie goers so with that, I say thank you to Judd Apatow for helping to produce one of the funniest movies I’ve seen this year.  Of course, some of their story was dramatized for dramatic purposes–Emily’s parents are from North Carolina but the Gardners have very little in common.

September-December is usually the time of year for Oscar releases but that’s been changing over the last few years.  The Big Sick will be spoken about during awards season.  One can be rest assured of that.

Following its debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Amazon Studios and Lionsgate opened The Big Sick in New York and Los Angeles on June 23, 2017.  The film expands into Chicago and other markets this Friday.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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