No matter what calumnies the Trumpster chooses to attribute to the Muslims of the world, there is at least one man who goes a long way to prove him wrong. He is Kumail Nanjiani, a charming, sensitive, and charismatic Pakistani Muslim who has written and stars in what is unquestionably the most delicious film of the year.
The film is “The Big Sick”, a beautiful, tender love story that reflects the delights and traumas that accompanied Kumail’s courtship of the woman who became his wife. She, Emily Gordon, now presumably Emily Nanjiani, co-wrote their story. She is portrayed by actress Zoe Kazan in the film.
The two met “cute.” She heckled him during his set at a local comedy club, he joined her afterwards for a drink, and then took her home for what he thought was going to be a one-night stand. But her quirky personality intrigued him. In the morning, when he approached her for an encore, she jumped out of bed and told him “I never do it a second time on a first date.”
The relationship proceeded from there, with her imposing whimsical “rules” like two days of “no contact” between dates. And as their intimacy grew, so did their playfulness. It didn’t take them very long to fall in love. (And for the viewers to fall in love with them as well.)
They had two big problems, however. Her parents (exquisitely played by Holly Hunter and an almost unrecognizable burly and bearded Ray Romano), were not thrilled with her relationship with an impecunious Pakistani stand-up comedian.
Further, Kumail’s father, played by Adeel Akhtar with anger and dignity, and his mother, the strong and emphatic Anupam Kher, had already decided on his future. He was to become a doctor or a lawyer and to marry, without question, a Pakistani woman of his mother’s choosing.
Unwilling to destroy his relationship with his family, he distanced himself from Emily and began to date the endless series of women his mother supplied. Emily, when she discovered this, indignantly and tearfully left him.
Then, after having been separated for some time, Kumail received a phone call from Emily’s friend, who told him that Emily had been hospitalized with a mysterious and life-threatening illness. Rushing to the hospital, Kumail was confronted by Emily’s parents, who were unceasingly hostile to him. Worse yet, he learned that the doctors, unable to determine the cause of Emily’s illness, had placed her in a medically induced coma.
At this point that old truism comes into play: It is, often, when you are about to lose someone, that you realize how much you love them.
“The Big Sick” is an emotional comedy, beautifully written, engagingly acted, and expertly directed by Michael Showalter. It was produced by the award-winning writer, director, and actor Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel, whose productions are consistently up for Academy Awards. Moreover, it is being distributed by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate and has already acquired a critical rating of 97% from Rotten Tomatoes.
Not too bad for a quiet, unassuming film that premiered only last January at the Sundance Film Festival and in its limited opening weekend this June 23rd earned a per-theater gross that ranks as the best of 2017.
It is scheduled to go wide on July 14. Look for it at a theater near you, because if you’re not feeling well it will make you feel a whole lot better!