The Big Sick movie review: This effortlessly charming film is a big win for indie cinema

Mihir Fadnavis

Jun 30, 2017 09:39:29 IST


Who would have thought Dinesh from Silicon Valley would go on to write and star in one of the best films of the year?

The Big Sick is effortlessly charming, delicately hilarious, emotional without being cheesy and relatable in so many ways it’s a very easy recco as the film to watch in theaters this week.

 The Big Sick movie review: This effortlessly charming film is a big win for indie cinema

The poster of The Big Sick.

Those who have been following the film would know that The Big Sick made a big splash in Sundance earlier this year and was sold to Amazon for a whopping $17 million. Once you see the film it’s easy to realize why Amazon would spend a fortune on a tiny little indie film. The content is so lovable it’s going to be watched by millions of people all over the globe for years to come.

Based on the real life story of Kumail Nanjiani and his relationship with his wife, the film chronicles a struggling Pakistani American stand up comedian (Kumail, playing himself) who falls for an American woman Emily (Zoe Kazan). And because this is a mixed race couple there are naturally some problems – particularly from his conservative Shia Muslim parents (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff).

You won’t be faulted to assume this is another ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) clichéd story – particularly after Hasan Minaj’s show also delves into this theme. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how refreshingly original the plot proceeds to become.

Kumail and Emily have a fallout but the former is drawn to the latter under truly weird circumstances that are best left for you to discover. Whatever happens after the first half an hour of big laughs stretches the boundaries of its genre later, and it becomes difficult to consider the film a comedy.

Thanks to Michael Showalter’s direction, however, the laughs never stop, despite a tragedy brimming at the surface. And because the plot is a riff on real life incidents it reinforces the phrase that truth can be stranger than fiction.

The best part about this movie is how for Indian audiences it doesn’t the least bit feel as if this is a Pakistani man’s story – because the dynamics Kumail shares with his family are exactly the way an Indian man would have with his parents. Kumail’s folks want to gift him a nice arrange marriage, and then emotionally manipulate him by saying they’ve sacrificed everything for him, and that a marriage to a girl from their community (and not a white girl) is the only thing they ask for.

This of course leads to hilarious ‘meetings’ between Kumail and prospective desi brides. There is truly no difference in cultures on either side of the border, and in these times of bigotry and chest beating nationalism it’d be great for both nations to get together, have some chai samosas and watch this film.

The performances from everyone are uniformly winning, even if it sometimes feels like Kumail doesn’t have much range. But that’s only because she shares screen space with powerhouses like Zoe Kazan and Holly Hunter (who plays Emily’s mom).

The Big Sick is also a success story for indie cinema and the talent behind it. A non-mainstream, unconventional story that played at Sundance is now in movie theaters and will soon be available to stream worldwide. This is the kind of revolutionary business model the film industry should embrace if it wants to maintain big crowds in the 21st century.

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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2017 12:54:08 IST