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Kumail Nanjiani
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‘The Big Sick’ is one of the best movies of the year

It’s very rare that I will say this, but “The Big Sick” is a movie you can actually love. Not just enjoy, but really love and respect the artistry in it. It will be an Oscar contender and one of the best movies of the year.

It’s also rare that I give 4/4 stars, but “The Big Sick” earns them.

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“The Big Sick” is about an apparently mismatched couple, and how their budding romance is interrupted, as the title suggests, by an illness.

Young graduate student Emily, played by Zoe Kazan, falls in love with an aspiring comedian who is also a Pakistani immigrant played by Kumail Nanjiani.

Now, Emily is the real life name of Nanjiani’s wife. It is clearly an autobiographical film, written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. It’s about their romance. Nearly everything in the film actually happened which makes it fascinating to watch.

Given that this is a husband and wife writing a romantic comedy about themselves, you know how it turns out. But they have some problems — not only the illness which in real life was mysterious and very serious — they have problems of cultural conflict.

Nanjiani comes from a very devout Muslim family. His parents are high-achieving Pakistani immigrants. His father is a doctor. They expect him to meet and marry a good Muslim Pakistani-American girl. One of the things that is very funny in the movie is how his parents continually introduce him to candidates they think are suitable. His mother is always saying, “Oh, look who dropped by!”

Ray Romano is terrific in the film. He plays the long time husband of Holly Hunter who will probably win an Oscar for this movie. She is sensationally good. They are Emily’s parents and they have concerns about her daughter and are very skeptical about this young man. Not because he’s Pakistani or Muslim, but because he’s trying to make a living as a comedian.

Many Oscar nominations will come from this film – best supporting actress, best actor, best screenplay, and perhaps others. There are some great romantic comedies made over the years, but this is the best made for quite a while.

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