Co-written by Kumail Nanjiani – who plays himself in the film – and wife Emily Gordon, “The Big Sick” has opened to some very flattering critiques from all and sundry. Loosely based on the real life courtship between Kumail and Emily, TBS is a romantic comedy film that tells the story of an aspiring Pakistani-born standup comedian and the cultural dilemma he lands himself into after falling in love with a white American, Emily, played to the T by Zoe Kazan.
The film is a bold endeavor in that it is a love story involving a Pakistani-Muslim and a white American girl which by no means is a mainstream topic, if not a taboo subject. However, the way the story has been handled speaks volumes about the direction and the team behind this truly hilarious and endearing film. A humble advice to those who haven’t seen it – SEE IT, NOW! And go into splits watching the odd couple and their hilariously complex families.
Kumail belongs to a conservative Pakistani family and is a struggling stand-up comedian and a part-time Uber driver in Chicago, who happens to see Emily during one of his shows when she heckles him from the crowd. They meet up after the show and there is immediate chemistry between the two and they begin dating soon enough.
As the relationship begins to take a meaningful shape Kumail doesn’t know how he is supposed to break the news to his Orthodox parents who keep introducing him to Pakistani women to set up an arranged marriage for him.
Knowing their parents well, his brother Naveed advises him not to continue the relationship – but this is “love” we are talking about – not only does he continue the affair, he even lies to Emily giving her the impression that his parents are aware of their relationship.
However, Emily finds out the truth when she discovers pictures of all the Pakistani women his parents have been trying to hook him up with in a cigar box in his room. There’s a confrontation and she decides to end it all with him after he says he’s not sure about a future with her.
Soon after the breakup, Emily is diagnosed with a condition which requires surgery while she is in a medically induced coma.
Kumail is at the hospital when Emily’s parents Beth and Terry arrive and while he gets along well with Terry, Beth is a little indifferent towards him. However, Beth picks up for him when a heckler passes racist remarks during his stand-up performance the night before the operation and a bonding between the two develops.
Kumail finally opens up about Emily in front of his parents leading to a heated argument which ends with his parents disowning him.
Meanwhile, Emily has developed serious complications after her surgery and Kumail gets a call from her parents during an important performance informing him that the infection has reached Emily’s, heart. Kumail is so distraught with the news that he botches the show.
To cut a long story short, Emily is initially reluctant to get back with Kumail but he wins her over ultimately while she recovers completely from her afflictions.
Rotten Tomatoes – Rotten Tomatoes has given the film an approval rating of 97% based on 142 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. “Funny, heartfelt, and intelligent, The Big Sick uses its appealing leads and cross-cultural themes to prove the standard romcom formula still has some fresh angles left to explore,” reads the site’s critical consensus.
Metacritic – According to Metacritic’s rating, the film has scored 87 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
- Kumail Nanjiani as Kumail
- Zoe Kazan as Emily
- Anupam Kher as Azmat
- Zenobia Shroff as Sharmeen
- Adeel Akhtar as Naveed
- Holly Hunter as Beth
- Ray Romano as Terry
- Bo Burnham as CJ
- Aidy Bryant as Mary
- Rebecca Naomi Jones as Jessie
- Kurt Braunohler as Chris