The Big Sick Ultraviolet Code
"Can you imagine a world in which we end up together?"
By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 10, 2017
Directed by Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name is Doris) from a screenplay by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (who both wrote for The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail), The Big Sick is a comedy-drama about an aspiring Pakistani-American stand-up comic who meets a girl he really likes but can't tell his over-bearing traditionalist parents about because she's not Pakistani. The story is semi-autobiographical, drawing on real things that happened in the writers' lives.
One of the best things about The Big Sick is that the characters come across as very real people in some very subtle ways. Kumail wants to be a stand-up comic, but at the beginning of the film he's not all that good at it, and his attempt at a one-man play is even worse. He really comes across as someone who has a dream but is a long way from realizing it. By the end of the film though, we can see that he's improving, making more meaningful (and funny) jokes in his stand-up routine and polishing his play to make it more accessible. Emily is a therapist but not that good at handling her own relationship conflicts. Emily's mom can barely stand the sight of Kumail even when he's being helpful. Her dad is more accepting but rather inept at expressing his thoughts and even worse at telling a joke.
Kumail's parents are domineering and rigid and only want their son to be what _they_ want him to be, blinding themselves to any other possibilities. They're all very human, flawed but all the more believable because of their flaws. And all of them change before the film ends, not quickly and not without struggle, but at least in enough ways to make you feel optimistic about their future.