It’s about once in a decade that we get a romantic comedy that transcends the boundaries of its genre-defining merger. Although Trainwreck and What If were fun, you have to look all the way back to 2009’s 500 Days of Summer to find a film that radically changed the rom-com landscape with its brilliant use of the “Reality v. Expectations Split-screen” or the fact that the film played out like a see-saw weighing out comedy and tragedy with romance being the only entity being able to bring total balance to the picture. Well, it seems we’ve uncovered the rom-com that will most resonate with this decade and I’d argue Michael Showalter’s documentation of the hilarious Kumail Nanjiani’s love-story is the film we’ve been awaiting in these troubled times.
From the get-go, Showalter and Nanjiani strike the balance between romance and comedy, transcending the genre’s nature by focusing the film around the culture-clash and inner turmoil that surges within Nanjiani once he starts dating Emily. If the American immigrant ever needed a humane portrayal in film it’s now more than ever and Nanjiani’s team does an excellent job in representing us adequately. As a Mexican-American, the dinner-table conversations about marriage that form at the table are so real it’s hilarious. The constant suggestions and nudges that are thrown Nanjiani’s way on behalf of his family when it comes to his marital life or his professional career are done in the perfect fashion that convey the duality of the reality and absurdity that he’s trapped in. The Big Sick’s representation of the immigrant family in America isn’t simply relatable, but it strikes a chord in our hearts that sends shivers and laughter throughout our body.
Not only does the film transcend it’s genre-trappings and provide it with an honorable meaning, but The Big Sick has also provided me with some of the biggest laughs I’ve had at the movies all year, such as an incident involving Kumail flipping out on the employees at a fast-food drive-thru. When in regards to romance, the film does deliver, but more than anything the film decides to focus on love itself and its ability to build bonds. This element being most clear with the way the film represents Kumail’s relationship with Emily’s (Zoe Kazan) family. Together, they all seem to form a loving bond that formulates into family-love and its bloody beautiful. The choice to cast Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents is also genius, as they can also strike that perfect balance between comedy, tragedy, and romance a film like The Big Sick solicits.
While the promotion of hate seems more common in our country than that of love, The Big Sick lights a beacon of hope in America, highlighting the love that truly forges our country together. Finding that perfect mix of romance, comedy, drama, and a topical message, Nanjiani’s The Big Sick provides young American immigrants with a voice that demonstrates our goodwill and love for our country. Showalter’s telling of Kumail and Emily’s getting-together is more than a simple rom-com, it is a stirringly emotional portrayal of cultures colliding in the name of love.