The Big Sick (2017) Review


Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gordon fall in love but it isn’t that simple with a culture clash, then an illness which puts her in a coma. Kumail must try to deal with everything as his parents continue to present him with potential wives for an arranged marriage.


This film has received very good praise since it was released a couple of weeks ago now, even though it was initially placed on a small release following preview screenings. I will admit though that from the trailers it wasn’t really what I was expecting, but I am not saying that in a bad or negative way at all. I am saying it in a very good way because it is very different to anything we have really seen before in this genre of romantic comedy.

That is obviously a good thing in a genre that feels as though it has been pretty much dying for many years.

Kumail meets Emily when he is doing his standup comedy act in a club and everything moves on from there. He drives for Uber on the side and they keep “meeting” each other even though they are resisting a relationship to begin with. They fall in love with one another but it all comes crashing down when Emily learns the truth about his family having no idea she even exists which also means they cannot really have a future together as he must marry within his culture, so a nice Pakistani girl.

This involves a weekly meal at his parents house when a girl just happens to pop round, the problem with this is that each of them leave a photograph and he has them all kept in a box. So not the best way for Emily to find out, however when she gets sick her roommate rings him and this then sees a lot of time spent at the hospital. He must then deal with her parents who aren’t particular found of him to begin with.

This part of the film I could not help but compare to ‘While You Were Sleeping’ it just had that similar type of feel to it. The stand up comedy moments were pretty amusing as well, especially when Beth and Terry went along to take their mind off the hospital. Throughout though you cannot help but feel totally sorry for Kumail as the threat of being kicked out of his family and disowned is very real.

It is certainly very thought-provoking in terms of thinking about how different cultures still work and will prevent people from being together regardless of whether they fall in love or not. I honestly had no idea that this was actually based on a true story so that was a lovely surprise at the end, yes I know I hadn’t seen the tagline! I actually quite like heading into a film not really knowing too much about it as you can really be taken on a better journey when watching it.

That was certainly the case with this film, which has moments when you really aren’t sure if you should be laughing or very sad. Impressive that it managed to find that kind of crazy balance! It is pretty refreshing to see this type of film and I can understand why it has been very well received.

8 thoughts on “The Big Sick (2017) Review

  1. I really enjoyed this film and pleased it’s doing well at the UK box office – good “counter programming” at the cinemas showing summer blockbusters. Would have liked a bit less of the stand up comedy scenes though.

    Liked by 1 person

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