Movie review: The Big Sick

Brief synopsis: A Pakistani-American man and a Caucasian-American woman fall (reluctantly) in love. When Emily suffers a life-threatening illness, Kumail meets her parents and struggles to reconcile his family obligations with his love for Emily.

This appears to be a semi-autobiographical movie based on the lives of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon (the co-writers). For those of you who are fans of the television show 
“Silicon Valley,” Nanjiani plays the character of Dinesh.

Jim and I were pleasantly surprised at the movie’s excellence. It is funny, sad, and moving and deals with the cross-cultural assimilation aspects of an immigrant family, which really resonated with me. (My favorite line is when Kumail asks his parents, “Why did we come here if you didn’t want me to have an American life?”).

Holly Hunter and Ray Romano portray Emily’s parents. Their evolving relationship with Kumail is the most emotionally complex relationship of the movie. (The poor actress who plays Emily—Zoe Kazan—is in a coma for a good portion of the movie.) All four actors play their roles with nuance and delicacy and a light touch that prevents the movie from sinking into cliche.

The only criticism I have of the movie is that the pacing was a bit uneven. There were definitely some parts that moved rather slowly. Overall, however, this was a small gem of a movie, and both Jim and I highly recommend it!

 

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