Because yes, okay: I'm verbose.
More thoughts on "The Big Sick."
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani answer questions following a screening of their film, "The Big Sick," at The Whitby Hotel, New York, NY, 6.22.17.
Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (pictured here), "The Big Sick" is a humorous yet serious take on courtship across a cultural divide. On one side we have white-bread (aka white-bred) middle-class Americans Emily, her mom, and dad (all played superbly [the totally lovable Zoe Kazan; a fantastically fiery Holly Hunter; and Ray Romano, a father who’s trying his best to do what’s best]). In the other corner we have Pakistan-born Kumail and his Muslim mishpuchah (Kumail plays himself… so well). Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff pepper their parental roles with riveting quirkiness.
The first major issue: after the two younguns meet, make out, and whatnot, Emily falls into a life-threatening coma. Now, one might well presume that such a catastrophe would be enough of a cinematic cliffhanger, but the REAL story centers on a matter of current concern for all of humanity: can we all not only get along, but join together? Overcome how we were raised... to reach who we are inside?
Kumail’s dilemma totally struck home for me. At age 19, I fell in love with one Stephen John Killcoyne. (We lived across the hall from each other in our sophomore year of college.) Though my Jewish upbringing had been largely self-taught—beginning in sophomore year of high school, I started reading scripture (the Hebrew Bible... and the sequel ; - ). Within a year or so, I had become something of a religious zealot. My culturally Jewish parents were no doubt bemused but pleased. I finished the final verses during the first months of Steve's and my shy, chaste, and cautious courtship.
A photo of me and Steve taken by Steve's then-roommate and our longtime-friend, Rick Leonard (aka Mr. Bleeyck).
When I called home and gave my folks the news about being in love, I was told that if Steve and I were still going out by Christmas break (ironic, but true), I shouldn’t come home. Unlike Kumail, I had no issues there, immediately responding, “Fine, I won’t,” and set off the next day to the Financial Aid office, to see how I could swing paying for all of college myself. (I was already paying/working through a good deal of it.)
What I still wrestled with, though, were romance and religion: I feared compromising the strong identity and belief I had forged. I saw Judaism as a faith in need of faith; a belief in need of believers. (As if I could be some kind of Jewish savior. Ha!) Ultimately, I chose NOT to be a martyr for my religion.
Next month Steve and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage. (Ahem: reminder, oh dear one.) I wish the same good fortune to Emily and Kumail.
IG hashtags, for some reason:
#Muslim #Pakistan #ArrangedMarriage #AmazonStudios #LionsgateFilms #WGAE #WritersGuildOfAmericaEast #ProducerJuddApatow #ProducerBarryMendel #TheRoyalTenenbaums #DirectorMichaelShowalter #WriterEmilyVGordon #WriterKumailNanjiani #EliaKazan