Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

The Big Sick


Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano and Anupam Kher
Distributor: StudioCanal
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 20 November 2017

Kumail is a Muslim student from a Pakistani family who spends his free time as a stand-up comedian. When he falls in love with Emily he lies to cover up his relationship and the fact that his mother is still trying to arrange a marriage for him. Their relationship falls apart as his lies are exposed and Emily ends the relationship. When Emily falls ill and is placed in a medically induced coma Kumail is forced to confront both his feelings and cultural restrictions….

The Big Sick (2017. 1 hr, 55 min, 07 sec) is an independent romantic comedy written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. The film was directed by Michael Showalter.

This film completely defied my expectations of what can be termed a romantic comedy, Sleepless in Seattle this is not. One word of advice is not to watch the extras until you’ve seen the film as there are reveals which will completely change the way that you look at the story.

Kumail, played by Kumail Nanjiani, is a conflicted character, his mother and father, Azmat (Anupam Kher) and Sharmeen (Zenobia Shroff) are traditional, and his mother keeps arranging matchmaking dinners at the family home. The film explores the friction which exists between Kumail’s heritage and the American society in which he has grown up. This often becomes the genesis of his lies as he tries to find a balance between the two. How successful he is, becomes one of the central ideas of the film.

At its heart the film is a love story albeit an unconventional one. Where I was expecting fluffy nonsense, the film delivers a thoughtful thesis of the difficulties arises from couples in almost diametrically divided backgrounds.

At the heart of his conundrum stands Emily, played by Zoe Kazan, who is bright, vivacious and intelligent, pretty much everything a man may look for in a prospective partner. While Kazan can imbue her character with lightness, she is also able to give her character gravitas, leading the audience to be completely on her side when she stops their relationship after finding a cigar box full picture of the girls that his mother had tried to match him with.

Emily falls ill, with the possibility that she may die. When Kumail goes to see her in hospital he meets Emily’s parents, Beth and Terry, played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. There is little to say about Hunter except that I have always been impressed with her acting and she effortlessly inhabits the skin of a woman who is initially angry about the way that Kumail treated her daughter before slowly seeing the good in him. Ray Romano has mostly done television but makes a convincing transition to the big screen.

Nothing is perfect and the only thing I didn’t get was the repeated scenes of Kumail working as a stand-up comedian. Now, this is from a very personal point of view as I didn’t find the stand-up funny, whilst at the same time understanding that the inclusion in the film was important as it showed a part of Kumail’s life which has the potentiality of pulling him even further away from his traditional background.

The DVD arrives with not only a respectable number of extras, but also useful extras. A Personal Journey: The Making of the Big Sick (14 min, 12 sec) wherein we discover the background of the film, I’ll say no more as it would spoil the reveal. 2017SXSW Film Festival Panel (11 min, 03 sec) with the director, writer and Kumail answering audience questions.

There are seven deleted scenes (9 min, 42 sec) to view and I’m presuming that they were cut for timing as each of them add another element to the story, well worth a look. The Big Sick: The Other Stuff (3 mins, 40 sec) which is a series of hit and miss comics moments. The Bigger Sick: Stick Around for More Laughs (10 mins) which sees the comics which appeared in the film on tour.

My inability to enjoy the stand-up aside this is a moving and engaging love story.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Amazon Video
iTunes GB
Digital Download