Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Movie Review: The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon have made an incredible movie based on the true story of their relationship, hilarious and emotional. Kumail plays a character sharing the same name who is a standup comedian in Chicago, hoping to earn a spot in a new show when he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan). The two hit it off though they both claim they are not ready for a relationship, albeit jokingly. The biggest deterrent to the relationship is Kumail's traditional Pakistani family. His mother Sharmeen (Zenobia Shroff) still tries to set him up with other Pakistani women whom she claims just dropped in. His father Azmat (Anupam Kher) talks poorly of relatives who date women outside of their race and religion. His brother Naveed (Adeel Akhtar) has a successful arrange marriage with Aisha (Shenaz Treasury) and cautions Kumail against dating a white woman.

Emily becomes angry when Kumail dodges a chance to meet her parents and she discovers a cigar box full of pictures of the women his mom has set him up with. Even though she revealed her previous marriage late into their dating, she leaves Kumail for his keeping secrets. Kumail moves on working on his silly one-man show and standup routine, even meeting other women until he receives a call from Emily's friend that Emily is in the emergency room. Kumail goes to check on her but when the doctor requests permission to put her in a medically induced coma, he is forced to make a decision. He allows the doctor to go ahead and feels responsible for the decision continuing to visit her even when her parents, Terry (Ray Romano) and Beth (Holly Hunter) arrive. 

At first, Beth and Terry dismiss Kumail and tell him not to come back but as he keeps returning, Terry allows him to eat lunch with them, leading to an awkward conversation. Emily's condition worsens and Kumail grows closer with her parents, reluctantly inviting them to one of his comedy shows. When an audience member heckles Kumail with racially charged words, Beth confronts the jerk leading to an embarrassing scene. Kumail bonds further with Emily's parents, drinking and reminiscing. Their relationship grows stronger but Emily's condition worsens as Beth believes that she may receive better treatment in a different hospital, one higher ranked like Northwestern.  

Kumail speaks with Nurse Judy (Myra Lucretia Taylor) who warns against moving Emily. Kumail bonds further with Terry when he takes him back to his house. Terry admits that he cheated on Beth getting a little too personal for Kumail. The comedian still pursues his career but before a set, he learns that she is worse so he breaks down during his routine, bombing and blowing his chance at making it to the Montreal show. Emily finally does recover when the doctors figure out what is wrong with her thanks to some additional information Kumail provided. However, when Emily awakes and is heavily drugs, she tells Kumail to leave. Disappointed, Kumail returns to the comedy club moping where his friends Mary (Aidy Bryant) and CJ (Bo Burnham) are moving to New York and want to take him with them. Kumail agrees and puts on one last show as Emily recovers. She meets him there and they talk but Kumail's impending departure halts the conversation. Kumail moves and does standup in New York only to find Emily heckling him from the crowd.

I can't recall the last time I laughed so much in a film. This movie makes a big push to be the best movie of the summer and should definitely be brought up in conversation when the awards season swings in. Kumail has made me laugh in various small roles in other movies and his role in Silicon Valley but this film really shows his talent. The supporting cast is also great from Ray Romano and Holly Hunter to Zenobia Shroff and Anupam Kher as the pairs of parents. While the description doesn't sound like it would be so funny, it really is, just hilarious. I have a hard time describing just how great this film is but it rolls across the spectrum of emotions from grief to humor so wonderfully and makes from a great time at the theater. I will try to tell everyone I know about this movie and hope it makes a lot of money for its indie budget. 

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