Pretty much everyone knows the score with romantic comedies. A guy and a girl meet, hating each other at first, but through 90 minutes of "kooky" bonding, the quirky odd couple fall in love, but fall out in time for the cheesy climax often involving the girl leaving on a plane, only for the guy to chase it down, get on last minute to confess his love for her and live happily ever after
The genre comes with certain expectations, for most part, they aren't optimistic. Well take all your expectations and leave them at the door when you see the romantic comedy, The Big Sick. This film breathes new life into the rom-com genre, and is simply a beautiful and genuinely funny movie. The Big Sick tells the story of Kumail, played by Kumail Nanjiani, an uber driver from an Islamic Pakistani family who also does comedy on the side. Despite his parents traditional beliefs, Kumail meets Emily, a white American girl played by Zoe Kazan, and the two start seeing each other. What follows is a hilarious, but also heartfelt story about love, family, the fear of disappointing your family and the clash between liberal/ more relaxed belief and strict tradition.
The Big Sick is fantastically well acted by the films four central actors. Holly Hunter's presence is felt immediately when we first meet her character, and she excellently plays the strong but also compassionate mother of Emily that is Beth. Ray Romano makes a brilliant comeback as Terry, Emily's father, Romano is obviously no stranger to playing the father role, being one a father of four himself. Romano's experience shows in this film, he is funny, timid and believable in this film and it's great to see him not play a Mammoth in a movie for once. Zoe Kazan is also great as Emily, playing her with a great level of emotion and, similar to Holly Hunter, having a real presence, even if she isn't featured all that much in the actual film.
However, the real star of this film is Kumail Nanjiani. This is Kumail's movie, he absolutely shines in the films lead role and is simply a revelation. His comedic timing and line delivery is absolutely on point and his use of sarcasm is exquisite, but not only that, Kumail nails the more serious and emotional scenes, even shedding a few tears, which I honestly did not see coming. Kumail Nanjiani doesn't just shine as a comedic actor, but as a well rounded actor and I really hope this film does wonders for him.
But of course comedy is not just about the delivery, it's also largely about the material and The Big Sick's material and overall script are simply marvellous. Not only shining as an actor, Kumail Nanjiani shines as a writer, co-writing this laugh out loud comedy with his wife Emily V Gordon. The couple have excellently crafted a subversive romantic comedy that feels so genuine and so real, that you almost don't want it to end, I know I didn't. What makes this film truly stand out from other rom-coms is how just genuine the film feels and how clearly you can feel the writer's emotions. It's obvious that this is more than just a film and was written from the heart. Not only that, it's laugh out loud funny, which to get me to laugh aloud is like getting blood out of a stone, and deals with its very relevant themes of cultural tradition and family disappointment daringly yet also respectably.
Yes this film is hilarious and emotional, but what really makes the film stand out is how it handles its sensitive subjects. Kumail comes from a strict, traditionalist, Pakistani Muslim family living in America, so he is going to struggle with the type of life he wants to live and the one his family want him to live, while also experiencing his fair share of 9/11 and Isis comments and overall bigotry. How The Big Sick handles these sensitive matters is outstanding, it doesn't cower from both debating issues and making some very controversial jokes surrounding them. The film doesn't tiptoe around these things, but also doesn't make the film all about them either, being loud and proud without being pretentious. We simply need more films like this.
Overall, The Big Sick is a beautifully well written and excellently acted film, that confidently addresses its sensitive areas without being cocky and feels extremely genuine on both a comedic and emotional front. I went in knowing little about the film and that is honestly the way to go, as the films end/ start of credits added a nice surprise that just added a whole new layer to the film. I actually laughed aloud which is extremely rare for me and my smile did not leave my face until long after the film had finished. I really hope this launches Kumail Nanjiani and co-writer Emily V Gordon into all new levels of acclaim and success. Bravo and Brava.