Monthly Archives: June 2017

Film Review: The Big Sick

Film Review: The Big Sick

The Big Sick is a film that is easy to love but hard to categorize. It has the feel of a rom-com, except that the female lead spends a large part of the film in a coma. Dramatic moments stemming from her illness are leavened by standup routines and insightful humor. The Pakistani American male lead is caught between the demands of his family and his need to make his own life decisions. Unlikely as it may sound, these disparate elements become a memorable storyline.

Writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, who are married in real life, based the screenplay on parts of their personal history. Nanjiani plays a younger version of himself in the film, while Zoe Kazan plays Gordon.

Kumail does a standup act in Chicago, and Emily attends one of his shows. They meet cute when she yells “woo-hoo” during his set (which Kumail considers heckling). The two bond over drinks after his set and end up spending the night together. From there, they see each other regularly, while insisting they are not dating.

Meanwhile, Kumail’s parents try to convince him to quit standup, take the LSAT, and marry a Pakistani American woman. Kumail’s mother is more than willing to provide help with the last item. Every time he sits down to a dinner with his family, another hopeful young woman “drops in” to give Kumail her photo. Too timid to defy his parents, Kumail simply takes the photos home and throws them into a cigar box.

It is only a matter of time before Emily discovers the cache of women’s pictures. She ends the relationship on the grounds that they have no future. Soon after, Emily becomes critically ill and must be placed in a medically induced coma. This jolts Kumail, and he vows to stay by her side. He does not count on the arrival of Emily’s parents (Ray Romano, Holly Hunter), who know all about him and the failed relationship. Understandably, they do not want him there. It is up to Kumail to sort out his feelings and fight for what he really wants.

The film really rests on Nanjiani’s shoulders, and he does a wonderful job of conveying the emotions and growth sparked by the ordeal. Zoe Kazan is absent for a substantial part of the film due to her character’s illness, but she makes the most of her screen time. The chemistry between the two leads is easy and believable.

Holly Hunter and Ray Romano turn in moving but also richly comedic performances as Emily’s overwrought parents. Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff are equally impressive as Kumail’s parents.

Director Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name Is Doris) has his work cut out for him with so many narrative threads. He is to be commended for making everything look spontaneous.

Theme: Changing Traditions

Related Posts: Film Appreciation: My Big Fat Greek Wedding  http://www.thinkingcinema.com/film-appreciation-my-big-fat-greek-wedding/

Changing Traditions: List For Week Ending July 2, 2017  http://www.thinkingcinema.com/changing-traditions-list-for-week-ending-july-2-2017/

 

Film Appreciation: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Film Appreciation: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Why People Love-And Hate-My Big Fat Greek Wedding My Big Fat Greek Wedding is adapted from star Nia Vardalos’ one-woman stage play. It is the story of Toula (Vardalos), a young Greek-American woman somewhat at odds with her family traditions. When Toula becomes engaged to Ian (John Corbett), a non-Greek, her relatives are aghast. ToulaContinue Reading

Film Review: Maudie

Film Review: Maudie

Maudie, Aisling Walsh’s biopic of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, is an unpretentious and inspiring film. Sally Hawkins does not play Maud so much as disappear into her. Ethan Hawke gives a strong performance as her husband Everett. Screenwriter Sherry White provides a touching love story about two people Maud describes as a “pair ofContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: My Left Foot

Film Appreciation: My Left Foot

“I saw it as more than a rather grim story of a man in a wheelchair. Christy represented for me a real kind of heroism, and I really wanted to try to capture the rage and frustration that led him to paint and write. To show, I suppose, that the trap is not the wheelchairContinue Reading

Art Overcomes Adversity: List For Week Ending June 25, 2017

Art Overcomes Adversity: List For Week Ending June 25, 2017

Our films this week deal with artists who produce their work despite adversity, often in the form of a health condition. This is not intended as an all-inclusive list. Reader suggestions are welcome. If you know an addition to this list, please write using the comments below. Maudie (2016) (Reviewed In Thinking Cinema 6/23/17) http://www.thinkingcinema.com/film-review-maudie/ MyContinue Reading

Film Review: Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe

Film Review: Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe

Ordinarily, I would not recommend Googling the subject of a biopic prior to seeing the film. In the case of Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe, I have to make an exception. Director/writer Maria Schrader and co-writer Jan Schomburg operate under the assumption that viewers are already familiar with Zweig’s life. Expending work to piece togetherContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: Letter To An Unknown Woman

Film Appreciation: Letter To An Unknown Woman

PLOT SPOILERS THROUGHOUT Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948) is worth seeing because it shows a group of talented individuals-Max Ophuls, Howard Koch, Franz Planer and Alexander Golitzen among them-at the top of their form. Honesty compels me to add that the story, adapted from the Stefan Zweig novel of the same name, requires considerableContinue Reading

Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

Good looks only go so far Roger Michell’s adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel is easier to admire than like. The film is quite impressive from a technical standpoint. Mike Eley’s cinematography, Kristina Hetherington’s editing, Rael Jones’ music, and Alice Normington’s production design are all top-notch. Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin give strongContinue Reading