Back when it was in theaters this summer, B and I went to see The Big Sick. It was written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, based on their real-life courtship – which involved Emily being in a coma. This is not a spoiler; it was well known before the movie came out, so I thought I would be able to handle it.
I was looking forward to going to the theater with B because we hadn’t gotten out much on our own, as we are in a major sandwich generation phase. It seemed like a good choice because the movie is a romantic comedy. Not only do we know that the couple get together in the end but it is also about a comedian (Nanjiani plays himself in the film) with lots of jokes in the show.
I did like the movie and think that it was well done. It was hard for me to write about it at that time, but it is now coming out on DVD, so this seemed a good time to revisit it and put out a post.
As I said, I knew the basic storyline, but there were things that were jarring to me. The first time we saw Emily on a ventilator reminded me of the last time I saw a family member with a tube.
Seeing Emily’s parents dealing with the doctors and trying to find the best care for their daughter brought back memories of dealing with past medical problems with my daughters. Emily’s parents are told that the doctors know what is going on and the treatment will work – and then it doesn’t. I know what that feels like. I know how desperately you want to protect your child and find the right person to help them get better. I know how little power you have in that situation.
Although the details are very different, I could also relate to the themes of family tensions around the experience of being an immigrant or the child of immigrants, religious differences between generations and spouses, and bi/multiracial families.
Erma Bombeck wrote, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” The Big Sick walks that line in a very human and meaningful way.