The Big Sick is a 2017 American romantic comedy film directed by Michael Showalter and written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. It stars Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar and Anupam Kher, and follows an interracial couple that has to deal with their cultural differences, loosely based on the real-life romance between Nanjiani and Gordon.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2017. It began a limited theatrical release on June 23, 2017, by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate, before going wide on July 14, 2017. It received positive reviews and has grossed $25 million worldwide.
Kumail is a comedian living in Chicago trying to make it in the industry while driving for Uber in his spare time. His family are traditional Pakistani Muslim and regularly set Kumail up with various Pakistani women in hopes of continuing the tradition of an arranged marriage, much to Kumail’s annoyance. During one of his shows, he is heckled by Emily, a woman in the audience. After the show they hook up and begin to date.
As their relationship grows, Kumail begins to worry about telling his family, knowing they would disapprove and disown him. Emily discovers in Kumail’s room a cigar box which contains the pictures and information of all the women his parents have set him up with and confronts him with it. When Kumail says he is uncertain seeing a future with her, she ends the relationship.
A few weeks later, Kumail gets a call from Emily’s friend asking him to sit with her in the hospital where she has been taken after fainting. When he arrives, a doctor urgently informs him that Emily has a serious lung infection and must be placed in a medically induced coma. He signs the permission form and calls her parents, Beth and Terry. When they arrive, they assure Kumail that he is no longer needed, but he chooses to stay. Eventually he bonds with Beth and Terry.
The infection spreads to Emily’s kidneys. Beth wants to transfer Emily to a different hospital, but Kumail and Terry disagree. Beth and Terry argue, resulting in Beth bringing up Terry’s past. That night, Terry reveals that their marriage is on the rocks after Terry cheated on Beth at a conference. The next morning, Kumail’s parents surprise him at his place, angry that he is not taking their marriage suggestions seriously. Kumail tells them that he does not want an arranged marriage and reveals his relationship with Emily. Angry and disappointed, his parents disown him. As Kumail prepares his performance at a showcase that will further his career, he gets a call from Terry telling him that the infection has now reached Emily’s heart. Emotionally distraught, Kumail bombs his performance because all he can talk about is his fear that Emily will die.
The next day, Emily awakens from her coma. The doctors explain she has adult-onset Still’s disease, a diagnosis that Kumail had inadvertently suggested when he mentioned to a nurse that Emily had ankle pain a few months earlier. Still bitter from their break-up, Emily tells Kumail to leave. Beth invites Kumail to Emily’s welcome home party. In private, Kumail asks Emily to take him back. Emily again says no.
Trying to move on from everything, Kumail agrees to move to New York City with his closest friends on the comedy scene. Before he leaves, he performs his one-man show detailing his life and Pakistani culture, and tells his family about his plans to leave the city but refuses to allow his family to disown him. Emily later discovers the video of Kumail’s disastrous showcase and decides to visit him at his one man show, where he reveals to her that he is moving. Although disappointed, she tells Kumail she appreciates everything he did for her while she was in a coma.
At a performance in New York City, Kumail is heckled by someone in the crowd. It is Emily.
Directed by Michael Showalter
Emily V. Gordon
Music by Michael Andrews
Cinematography Brian Burgoyne
Edited by Robert Nassau
January 20, 2017 (Sundance)
June 23, 2017 (United States)
Country United States
Box office $25.4 million