*This is one of eight films that I saw during a summer traveling around Europe. I did not write full reviews for these movies, but I have shared mini-reviews that were originally posted on social media to Sitting In The Cinema*
Husband/wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon take the "write what you know" rule of screenwriting and run circles around the competition with it. The Big Sick tells the (autobiographical!) story of a Pakistani stand-up comedian falling in love with a white woman, which dredges up familial difficulties. Life is thrown further into disarray when Emily ends up in a coma with a serious infection.
But hey, it's a rom-com! If a movie that so carefully juggles cultural, racial, and healthcare issues with romance and comedy could even be accused of not transcending that genre.
The tonal balance of the screenplay truly is incredible. The Big Sick, for being so precariously multifaceted, is always confident of what it is. Few emotional or comedic cards feel overplayed, thanks to the dual punch of Nanjiani & Gordon actually having lived through this and simply being sharp writers. The dialogue serves as a knife to both widen your smile and stab you in the heart.
The cast is stellar too. Nanjiani is always funnier when telling his own jokes; Ray Romano fills out his most grounded character in years.
My only complaints are direction and score that are functional at best (a negative when stacked up next to the screenplay's inexhaustible authenticity) and moments of Judd Apatow (who produced) style not fitting in with the film's overall purpose.
In an unbelievably good summer for movies, The Big Sick stands near the top.