The 2017 romantic comedy written by real-life couple Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani is loosely based off their own relationship and how they dealt with their cultural differences as an interracial couple, and how they pushed forward after Gordon’s sickness.
The film, which stars Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 before releasing worldwide on July of the same year. The Big Sick which is available on FOX+ would eventually be nominated for Best Original Screenplay by the Academy Awards and was listed as part of the top ten films of the year by the American Film Institute. It was also one of the highest-grossing Indie films of 2017.
Widely praised and critically acclaimed, The Big Sick was lauded for being intelligent, hilarious, and heartfelt. Viewers everywhere commended the film for taking a new spin on the romantic comedy and for exploring fresh angles.
Its relevant and perceptive script gave viewers plenty of insights into this modern relationship. Here are five relationship tips that we learned from The Big Sick.
1. Learn about your partner through their family
One of the most transformative things in The Big Sick was the bond between Nanjiani and Gordon’s parents. The time they had spent together revealed to Nanjiani so much about Gordon and only worked to truly deepen his understanding and love for her. It also allowed him to become a welcome and accepted part in her family, which makes their relationship a valuable part in her world.
2. Race and culture can’t be ignored — being honest about it helps
The biggest tension in The Big Sick is the couple’s racial and cultural differences. This is especially pressing on the side of Nanjiani, where his Pakistani Muslim immigrant parents expect him and pressure him into an arranged marriage, just like they have. This puts strain on the relationship between Gordon and Nanjiani, causing Nanjiani to be trapped between his girlfriend and his parents. In the end, after finally being honest and open to both Gordon and his family, Nanjiani was able to save the relationship and get his parents to understand.
3. Good relationships mean you are absolutely comfortable with each other
A warm, heart-tugging scene and also maybe one of the most relatable ones in the film includes a conversation where Gordon tells Nanjiani outright about her body, bodily functions, and then ending it by proclaiming the need to go to the toilet. This displays absolute trust, comfort, and ease of self, which indicates that the relationship is a safe space for both partners.
4. Each person experiences the details of the relationship differently, and you have to respect that
Probably one of the most interesting things about the film is its semi-autobiographical nature. The couple that wrote it created a script version of their lives played by a casted version of themselves. During the process, the couple shared that there were a lot of things they discovered to have been different for each of them as they recounted important events. While it caused arguments, in the end, the understanding and awareness that sometimes things are remembered another way or may mean different things to the other partner allowed the writers to respect each other’s point of view.
5. You will always hurt the person you love, but what you do after that is what matters
It’s unavoidable for feelings to get hurt in a relationship, and trying to walk on eggshells in order to avoid the other person’s feelings will only make the whole relationship uncomfortable. What’s important is how these hurt feelings are dealt with afterwards. In the film, it was Gordon’s father who shared this wisdom to Nanjiani after recounting how he cheated on Gordon’s mother. During this scene, Nanjiani learns that to truly know how you feel about someone is to know how you feel after you’ve hurt them.
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