A handful of romantic comedies come out every year. They’re fun, easy-to-digest movies that make people feel better about their love lives. But rarely does a rom-com as authentic as The Big Sick capture the heart of millions of people.
The Big Sicks tells the real-life love story of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. When Emily Gardner (Zoe Kazan) falls sick with an unknown illness, their already complicated relationship intensifies when Emily’s parents (Ray Romano, Holly Hunter) show up.
The Big Sick follows the typical rom-com plot: Guy meets girl, something keeps them apart and finally a big gesture brings them together in the movie’s final scenes. One of the only differences is one of the main characters is in a coma. But the film surpasses the tropes of rom-coms with its personal writing from the real-life subjects, which is why it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for this year’s Oscars. Because the film is based on a true story, it shows that rom-com situations can happen outside of a screen.
Faith also plays a big part in the film. Kumail struggles in his relationship with Emily because he is Muslim and arranged marriages are popular in his culture. A lot of the humor comes from the irony. His family has no idea he is dating a white woman, so they keep setting him up with Muslim women in the Chicago area. But the most pain and conflict come out of this too. It’s difficult to watch Kumail and Emily’s obvious chemistry go to waste. The audience sympathizes with the couple as they decide what’s best for them going forward.
The best performances of the film are from Romano and Hunter who really shine as the loveable southern parents. Their quirkiness is comparable to Kumail and Emily’s on-screen romance. Both couples have their own struggles, and they find a way to help them.
The Big Sick is a less creepier version of While You Were Sleeping. It takes a similar premise and makes it more believable. Both films highlighted the importance of family, and that’s where The Big Sick’s subplots are quite remarkable. Whether it was Emily’s parents sitting at her bedside for the duration of her coma or Kumail’s parents’ weekly dinner, the film really showed family is the really the only thing that matters and they show will love no matter what.