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Levy Must-Sees: The Big Sick

Dana Levy (25/07/2017)

A new rom-com starring comedian Kumail Nanjiani addresses the challenges of dating outside your culture

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Dana Levy is a British-Israeli film critic based in London

‘The Big Sick’ is based on the real life relationship between comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.

It begins with Kumail meeting Emily (Zoe Kazan, from ‘Revolutionary Road’ and ‘Ruby Sparks’) after she heckles him during one of his stand-up sets. They have a one-night stand but it develops into a serious relationship after a few good months.

However, this relationship is complicated for Kumail due to his cultural differences from Emily. Emily is a white American whilst Kumail has been brought up in a traditional Muslim immigrant household and his parents expect him to enter into a traditional Pakistani arranged marriage with a Muslim woman.

Kumail goes along with their endless introductions to various potential young Muslim brides. Each potential bride gives him a photo and a CV-type card of themselves, which he throws in a cigar box with no intention of calling her. Emily knows nothing of this until she eventually discovers the cigar box and realises Kumail’s family aren’t even aware of her existence. Extremely hurt by this, she leaves him.

Soon after leaving Kumail, Emily develops a life threatening mystery illness that puts her in intensive care. Kumail is called to the hospital and is obliged to contact her parents, Beth (played by Holly Hunter, from “The Piano” and “O Brother, Where art thou?”) and Terry (Ray Romano, of “Everybody Loves Raymond”). Whilst neither parent has ever met Kumail, both have heard all about him breaking their daughters heart. Together they deal with and support each other through Emily’s illness and in the process Kumail falls more in love with Emily. Eventually he must decide whether to stand up to his parents regarding his life and matters of the heart.

‘The Big Sick’ starts off just like any light-hearted comedy- showing some very funny segments of Kumail’s stand up routines whilst chronicling his and Emily’s relationship. However as the romance progresses the film becomes very touching and emotional, addressing important issues and switching frequently between the humour and drama. Kumail and Zoe Kazan are very convincing in their roles and you will really feel for them and hope they work it out. The whole cast, including Kumail’s family, and the other stand up comedians are strong too. This is a great rom-com with a difference.

CAST: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano,
DIRECTOR: Michael Showalter (& produced by Judd Apatow)
UK RELEASE DATE: 28th July 2017
ISRAEL RELEASE DATE: 20th July 2017 (Jerusalem Film Festival)


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