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The Big Sick – A Modern Day Awkward Version of Romeo & Juliet

The Big Sick – A Modern Day Awkward Version of Romeo & Juliet


We tend to think that society is progressive, liberal, and open-minded. But then again, interracial and intercultural marriages are still noticed and frowned upon – especially with older generations. Traditional views still persist for many cultures within our country. When young people from different cultures fall in love, they often end up having Romeo-and-Juliet-type battles to fight for a chance to stay together.

Sometimes love prevails. But other times, a family is just torn apart by these relationships. Kids are disowned, couples end up eloping, or the relationship ends and both are simply heartbroken.

The Big Sick is a romantic comedy that follows an interracial couple’s journey as they deal with their cultural differences. It’s loosely based on the real-life romance between Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and his wife Emily Gordon.

From family disputes and match-making failures, to looking after a loved one who is ill and going through a near-death experience…The Big Sick has plenty of funny and genuine moments to convince viewers that true love will always prevail.

The main character, Kumail, is a Pakistani stand-up comedian, who meets an American graduate student named Emily during one of his stand-up shows. A one-night stand soon blossoms into a full-on relationship, but this leaves Kumail worried that his traditional Muslim parents will disapprove. When Emily comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a deep and lasting bonds with her mother and father.

Arranged marriages are still fairly common among Pakistani families, where parents will often set up a series of dates for their children in hopes it will lead to marriage. And marrying outside of their culture is strictly forbidden. The Big Sick puts the spotlight on this sensitive but very real issue, when Kumail is consistently caught unaware by his mother inviting Pakistani women to their family dinners.

Kumail’s own brother is happy in an arranged marriage. The lighthearted acting and many authentic perspectives make this film a pleasure to watch. At the heart of the film is the idea that family ties are the ones that bind. Whether it’s Kumail’s traditional and narrow-minded family or Emily’s larger-than-life parents, the movie never fails to show just how deep and lasting family bonds are, no matter how difficult the challenges.

And the challenges seem insurmountable sometimes! It’s not easy to stand up for what you truly love or believe in, but if it’s something worth fighting for, this movie reminds us to persevere. That’s another big takeaway from this excellent film: The Big Sick finds light in the dark. A movie about a girlfriend in a coma and a man risking his family to be with her manages to be both funny and deeply, authentically moving.

If you like what you see, you can purchase the full film on iTunes. Watch the trailer here:



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