It is very easy to get romantic comedies wrong, it is easily a combined genre that when executing is very unpredictable and dangerous, unless you nail the romantic side of the narrative, that way the comedy side can just roll through with guaranteed laughs. The Big Sick is a film in which the two romantics are free to express their awkwardness towards the difficulties of maintaining a relationship with each other while there is a fatal force that is pushing them away simultaneously. Most romantic comedies to me are just funny which is an easy mistake for a writer or director to make. However, it is because of the slowly increasing pressure from this fatal force that makes The Big Sick funny but also very sweet and joyful.
I had no information on the Big Sick before seeing this so I was pleasantly surprised to know that the story taking place in The Big Sick is the story of the Kumail Nanjiani who plays himself and wrote the screenplay with his wife Emily who is the main love interest. Little titbits like this mentally relaxes you for what is to play out on the silver screen, so knowing this before seeing The Big Sick is quite essential.
Easily the most fascinating element of The Big Sick is the witnessing the cultural and religious traditions of arranged marriages that Kumail must push his way through. This is the fatal force as previously mentioned. The blatantly obvious attempts made by Kumail’s parents to find him a wife is funny in its predictability and is easily the more amusing moments of the film. Moving on to the romantic element of the narrative which works due to the actor’s chemistry. Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan are incredible during scenes together which amount to their romance in the film all the more cute and adorable, this is also raised by the awkwardness that comes naturally during the early stages of dating which is played out magnificently.
The complexity of these characters gives the audience an easier time in order to form an attachment to them, nearer towards the end of the film there is an urging feeling to root for Kumail’s success because he quite simply deserves it. We want him to achieve his stand-up dreams, to get together with Emily and to escape the restrictions and negligence set in motion by both his and Emily’s parents. Speaking of which just as Kumail’s and Emily’s relationship is fascinating, the relationship between Emily’s parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) is equally enthralling. We learn this during Kumail’s attempts be liked and the way they meet is a big stand out from how characters in films meet the parents.
I am realising I’m making this all sound very happy and light-hearted, but you can’t have a romantic comedy without some sort of tragedy and the tragedy in the Big Sick becomes more heartbreaking each time it is brought up. It is during this tragedy that you really begin to see the humanitarian change in Kumail as he become more accepting of what can and cannot be, all of these points combined create a very well written film, however I do feel that some parts were written in to make the film historically updated with the current world.
The Big sick is a film that one most really pay attention to, if you’re not the type that enjoys films that move along in their own time, the chances are that The Big Sick will appear very monotonous. You often see people bring up a film’s duration in a negative comment on a film, I can predict that The Big Sick will be one of those film as admittedly the film does seem to drag out certain story lines (the scenes that take place later on in the film). It does feel as if you could end the film at many points in The Big Sick, but how the film’s conclusion links with the beginning and answers the penultimate question makes up for these very microscopic errors in the narrative.
Kumail’s stand-up comic friends never felt as interesting as the other characters in the film. I understand that they can be classed as side characters but I argue that because they are given ample of screen time, they have to play some sort of importance that is reflected through the main characters change as a person, however, Kumail’s comic friends don’t have that big of an influence on his change as it is overshadowed by his and Emily’s parents.
The Big Sick still remains one of this year more engrossing romantic films. You can judge the level of intrigue by how quickly an audience laughs at the funny moments, the people around me were very quick to seize laughter not because of the weakness in the comedy, but by how they wanted to return to the film and see how Kumail’s and Emily’s relationship would progress. In the end, it was well written, had fantastic characters and enough humour to tickle your funny bone, what more can you ask from a romantic comedy?
Final Result: 7/10 – Good
Have you seen The Big Sick? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below?
Next Time: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets