Kumail Nanjiani isn’t somebody you would’ve heard of a few years ago. Or maybe you had. I don’t know your life story. But to the general public, he was, for the most part, nothing more than a struggling comedian (and I don’t mean that in a patronizing, insulting manner; he’s far more successful than I’ll ever be). Then, more recently, his career took off. He’s a beloved standup and actor, most notable for his hilarious cameos in films of varying degrees of quality. Don’t worry, he’s usually the best part. However, The Big Sick is Kumail’s first major role, and it couldn’t be more fitting, as this isn’t just a fun happy-go-lucky romantic comedy, it’s the biopic of Kumail’s life. Kind of.
No, they don’t go riding away off into a rainbow Grease-style. Instead, he rebels against his family’s customs and, in secret, begins a relationship with the love of his life. It’s in these moments where the film successfully sets the ground. Their relationship blossoms in a slow-moving, but much enjoyable first act, where laughs are plenty and heart is key. Kumail and Kazan share a number of enjoyable scenes, full of chemistry and pitch perfect comedic timing, but the film soon unravels its much-needed change up. Emily is in a coma. Their relationship was left on bad terms. And from here, the real film begins.
The second and third acts are beyond touching, but they retain that sense of joy and hilarity. Several moments had me bursting with laughter. One joke in particular had me trying to hold back from laughing right through into the following more serious scene. I did not succeed. And yes, I felt like an asshole. But it really goes to prove this film’s talents. It’s able to make you cry just as easily as it can laugh. There’s a perfect balance, mixed in with moving, real life tragedy and a cultural relevance with an important message.
Watching The Big Sick is an endless joy. It’s almost impossible not to love, especially thanks to Kumail’s game changing, career best performance, but really, the entire cast must be thanked (Holly Hunter needs a last minute shout out too). This film may not do everything right, but it does most of it. Besides, it’s very hard to not make Ray Romano funny, yet The Big Sick does just that. So… well done, movie. Well done.
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