The Big Sick review round-up: Funniest film of 2017, Kumail Nanjiani is a 'revelation'
Pakistani born Kumail Nanjiani, who stars in the comedy series Silicon Valley, debuted as a writer/actor in the romantic comedy The Big Sick this year at Sundance Film Festival, and by the reactions it has garnered, it might just be this year's best comedy film.
Directed by Michael Showalter, the film is based on the real life of Kumail Nanjiani, who has co-written it with wife Emily V. Gordon. Nanjiani also features in the film.
The cast also includes big banes like Shehnaz Treasury, Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Bo Burnham and Aidy Bryant.
The Big Sick narrates the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with graduation student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets.
However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he has never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.
Is the comedy from the Silicon Valley star as good as it seems?
Here's what critics had to say:
Peter Travers from The Rolling Stone called it 'the funniest film upto date. The review lauded the actors too: "Romano and Hunter inhabit their roles beautifully, their blunt honestly helping this culturally conflicted commitment-aphobe to open his heart. And Nanjiani is a revelation, investing his role with grit, grace and touching gravity."
Vulture wrote about how Nanjiani tackles the issue of diversity, "But when The Big Sick is at its best, it captures with rare humor the weight of being Muslim in America. Throughout the film, Nanjiani and Gordon bravely gamble with jokes about 9/11 and terrorism, and the punch lines land with a thought-provoking wallop. This movie has empathy on its mind as much as comedy, and it’s simply a joy to see it excel at both."
Variety calls it Michael Showwalter's best venture yet, "As a director, Showalter remains workmanlike in his craftsmanship, but his eye for talent is as strong as ever. By allowing the scenes more room to breathe and playing the comedy as straight as the emotional content, he has not only delivered his best work yet but reintroduced himself as a filmmaker worth keeping an eye on."
Consequence of Sound sang praises of the screenplay, " Gordon and Nanjiani’s screenplay is full of side stories and detours, but each adds a richness to the film’s characters that pays off spectacularly in its emotionally rich final act. Though Kumail’s relationship with Emily’s parents begins icily (particularly from Beth, who Hunter plays with an intimidating, withering sarcasm at first), they soon come to rely on one another, as emotional crutches and as the only three people who know Emily well enough to understand why her sickness hurts so deeply."
Deadline says, "But telling his own tale with the help of his co-writer wife Gordon is a much bigger leap that could have gone off the rails, but it never does and brilliantly stays real all the way."
The New Yorker didn't seem quite convinced of the film though. The review says, "Although The Big Sick breaks new ground as it delves into cultural conflicts, there are patches of th"e drama that give you pause.
(With inputs from agencies)