The Big Sick

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I went into The Big Sick with higher than usual expectations and it did not disappoint. That is saying something. The film is produced by Amazon Studios. In 2016 we saw another notable Amazon film, Love and Friendship, which was an excellent work from Director Whit Stillman. Each year it will feel less and less odd that online companies are also in the film biz as producers. In this case Amazon was smart enough to team up with Judd Apatow and in turn with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon. Kumail, who is also the star, and Emily are the writers and The Big Sick is based on their life experiences.

I am not exactly sure how The Big Sick got an R rating. D explained to me that F bombs are dropped. Is that all it takes these days? Well, it’s a shame because I think younger folks would get a lot out of watching this movie. It’s not preachy but it is intelligent and gets its points about relationships and culture across in a humorous and meaningful way. On the other hand, kids will stream it on Amazon. So much for the MPAA and its outdated ratings system.

This film reminded me a lot of When Harry Met Sally. There is even a scene at a batting cage. Though it is not the theme, the movie is driven by the question, “When do you know you’re in love?” The twists here involve the cultural roadblocks Kumail faces in pursuing his relationship with Emily, in a strong performance by Zoe Kazan.

Some of the best moments happen when Holly Hunter as Beth and Ray Romano as Terry, Emily’s parents, storm onto the scene.  This is a critical part of the film as one of the main stars is in a coma i.e. the sick part of The Big Sick. At this point the movie really heats up with some high drama at a comedy club involving Hunter and a xenophobic heckler and Romano having an intense heart to heart talk with Kumail on an air mattress. The film never sinks to schmaltz, the actors bring it —  the emotion and intensity — and the writing remains honest and moving.

One cool and interesting thing to me is its long and eclectic soundtrack. Everything from Boz Scaggs to Veilumuth Chitralekha.  And as well as it is doing in the theatre, I think The Big Sick will even have greater success as a streaming title.  I thought The Big Sick was an excellent film that gave new angles to a story that feels familiar.

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