Romance isn't dead.....
Romantic comedies can be the perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of real life; so little wonder Hollywood churns them out like there’s no tomorrow. A good romance never goes out of fashion. Yet for every classic like When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle, there are dozens that are at best forgettable and at worst toe-curlingly bad (Bride Wars anyone?). Getting the right balance of romance and humour is not easy.
The best of 2017’s rom-coms was The Big Sick. It’s based on the true life story of stand-up comic Kumail Nanijani and his wife Emily Gordon. The two of them met when Emily heckled Kumail on stage one night. They immediately fell for each other, but the path of true love is never smooth. If the pressures from Kumail’s family for him to marry a Muslim girl were not enough; Emily suddenly became seriously ill and had to placed in a medically induced coma.
One of the joys of The Big Sick is that it feels genuine. Kumail plays himself in the film and he co-wrote the script with Emily (who is winningly portrayed by Zoe Kazan on screen). The pair have great chemistry and their relationship is believable - you care about what happens to these people. Even better is that the supporting characters feel fully rounded; there’s no room here for comedy sidekicks. The superb Holly Hunter (Broadcast News) gives a brilliant performance as Emily’s mother who goes from fiercely protective of her sick daughter, to slowly accepting Kumail’s dedication to Emily.
There are huge laughs to be had too with the humour arising naturally from the characters and situations, without ever becoming over the top or forced. Let’s be honest - The Big Sick is not the most appealing title, but don’t let that put you off what is a delightful addition to the pantheon of great romantic comedies.
The Big Sick (15) is part of Oswestry Film Society’s new season, showing Tues 6th February at 7.30pm
By Tom Brookes.
From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 16th January 2018.