The Big Sick centres around taxi driver and stand-up comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), the man playing himself as he went through this at the time and despite what usually happens in movies when someone writes, stars in and bases every last scene around themselves, this is NOT a pet project that goes to the lead’s head. This is one of 2017’s great movies and of which is most deserving of your attention.
I’m not normally one for romantic comedies, but even if you’re the same, then bear with me.
In short, Kumail and Emily (Zoe Kazan) meet after one of his gigs and hit it off instantly, embarking upon a relationship while his family have forever ingrained in him a strict Muslim upbringing and all that entails, since arranged marriages are the culture in Pakistan and if he didn’t marry the woman they want to pair him with, they’d kick him out of the family. To top it off, they also want him to become a lawyer and give up his hopes and dreams of being a headlining comedian, something he clearly loves to do as he and his comedian friends are trying to impress the man from the Montreal Comedy Festival.
However – and the reason for the title – tragedy strikes when Emily is struck down with a mysterious infection, leading to their relationship being tested when she is rushed to hospital and is induced into a coma, soon leading to an unconventional first meeting with her parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano), and the film takes quite a different path to the one I was expecting.
In The Big Sick, you really get drawn into Kumail’s story, as he wants to be with Emily, but fate has driven them apart in this unfortunate way, but there’s still a ton of humour in this, including some dark humour, but early lighter moments which tickled me came when he was having dinner with his family, initially getting some fashion tips:
- Azmat (father): “You should be stylish, like your father.”
Naveed (brother): “Get some Daddy-style(!)”
Soon after his father relates how he had to hack into a relative’s Facebook account to see what they were up to simply because they weren’t accepting his friend request!
Now, I could be silly and say that when it comes to the comedian scenes, you wouldn’t always get the exact same bunch of people performing at the same gigs each time, and even less that it’s at the same club – especially since some of the audiences will be the same and those booking the gigs will want to put a wide selection of people on each time, but I get that the film has to do this so it doesn’t take it’s own audience away from the story.
How will things turn out for them? Well, I didn’t know to know the precise details before I started watching, so I’d seen a couple of clips and trailers beforehand. After that, I was sold on it. Do the same and don’t know too much beforehand as you’ll get the most from it.
And importantly, as a middle-aged man (and when did that happen?), it does feel very fresh as a rom-com. How often can you say that, these days?
The film is presented in the theatrical 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high definition and for a Blu-ray of a modern film, you’d be surprised if the picture wasn’t spot-on. Don’t expect huge picturesque landscapes from a film taking place mostly in comedy clubs and a hospital, but everything is perfectly fine.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and it’s mostly a dialogue piece with occasional score, so no problems at all.
The extras are as follows, and there are some great ones, here:
- A Personal Journey: The Making of The Big Sick (14:49): Discussion from the lead plus more input mostly from crew including co-writer Emily V Gordon and also producer Judd Apatow, a big name in comedy but his films aren’t normally the type that worked for me. He mostly does rom-coms. THIS is a rom-com, but it’s a rom-com with a difference. Next up, maybe Marvel or DC will make an action movie with a difference 😉
- 2017 SXSW Film Festival Panel (11:32): Selective questions with Kumail, Miss Gordon, director Michael Showalter and Mr Apatow. I would’ve preferred the whole thing.
- Deleted Scenes (10:07): 8 scenes and I would reinstate No.3 and 5, but I can’t say why to avoid spoilers 😉
- The Big Sick: The Other Stuff (3:48): More alternate lines not used in the film.
- The Bigger Sick: Stick Around For More Laughs (10:25): And a comedy tour for the film with a number of comedians within. So, it’s a mix of Q&A and stand-up comedy.
- Audio commentary: from Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V Gordon, producer Barry Mendel and Michael Showalter.
The menu features clips from the film set to a brief piece of the theme, subtitles are in English only and chapters are the usual lacklustre 12.
Running time: 120 minutes
Released: November 20th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Michael Showalter
Producers: Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel
Screenplay: Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
Music: Michael Andrews
Kumail: Kumail Nanjiani
Emily: Zoe Kazan
Beth: Holly Hunter
Terry: Ray Romano
Azmat: Anupam Kher
Sharmeen: Zenobia Shroff
Naveed: Adeel Akhtar
CJ: Bo Burnham
Mary: Aidy Bryant
Chris: Kurt Braunohler
Khadija: Vella Lovell
Nurse Judy: Myra Lucretia Taylor
Bob Dalavan: Jeremy Shamos
Andy Dodd: David Alan Grier
Sam Highsmith: Ed Herbstman
Fatima: Shenaz Treasurywala
Jesse: Rebecca Naomi Jones
Zubeida: Kuhoo Verma
Yazmin: Mitra Jouhari
Denise: Celeste Arias
Nurse Bette: Shana Solomon
Sumera: Shunori Ramanathan
Racist Heckler: Spencer House
Tina (Khadija’s Mother): Susham Bedi
Farhan (Khadija’s Father): Rahul Bedi
Fast Food Cashier: Matty Cardarople
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.