The oft-quoted instruction to »write what you know» (attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to Faulkner and Hemingway) has become something of a cliche, stifling as many writers as it inspires. Yet Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani have put this formula to winning use in their screenplay for the year’s most likably unlikely romcom.
A fictionalised account of an episode in which a rare disease landed Gordon in a medically induced coma while Nanjiani got to know her parents for the first time, The Big Sick is While You Were Sleeping for the wide-awake generation, a beautiful blend of real-life grit and Four Weddings fantasy. Produced by Judd Apatow, under whose patronage Bridesmaids became a mould-breaking hit, this touching tale of cross-cultural entanglement finds a Pakistan-born man and an American woman wrestling with the conflicting ties of unexpected love and arranged marriage, with everything – life, death, family – at stake.
Woody Allen once cited »insufficient laughter» as grounds for divorce; on this evidence, Gordon and Nanjiani (who are married in real life) should be together for ever. Between them, they have conjured up a comedy with heart and soul to spare.
Mark Kermode, The Guardian