Review: The Big Sick

the big sick“The Big Sick” is a love story about a cross-cultural relationship in the modern USA. It took me by surprise as I was expecting more of a “Notting Hill” sugarcoated and occasional chuckle type of story rather than an extremely funny and yet very moving film about family and cultural issues.

Pakistan-born Kumail meets Emily and they quickly, yet somehow reluctantly fall in love. They seem to be a real match: they have a similar sense of humor, way of thinking, they’re supportive towards one another. Unfortunately Kumail comes from a very traditional family. They don’t want him to pursue his interest in comedy and more importantly they want him to enter an arranged marriage with someone from their culture. When Emily contracts a mysterious disease, he’s forced to make a choice about his future… What will he do?

I cannot stress enough how much I liked the movie. It has a very strong drama element in it and I felt deeply moved numerous times but the comedic aspect of it was equally important. I don’t remember ever watching a movie that had such a perfect balance of both. I could really relate to the main character and his struggles. He knows what he wants but feels like he should rather want what his family wants for him. It’s also difficult to think that you owe nothing to your parents, if they moved countries to give you a better future.

The main couple has a very good chemistry on the screen. Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is cute in a dad kind of way and his acting skills are really impressive. He almost always jokes, even if a situation doesn’t call for it. Emily (Zoe Kazan) is also very convincing in her role of a slightly crazy girl with a great sense of humor. They form a couple you really cheer for when watching the movie. The drama element is so strong, however, that you have no idea what’s going to happen towards the end of the movie.

The film has a lot of un-PC humor about race and culture. Watching it is a very refreshing experience in the world of movies these days which are obsessed with appropriateness. The main actor is also the co-writer of the script and, I have a feeling, a major source of jokes in the film. The story line and comments on culture’s clashing bring to mind Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None”, even if it’s much more comedic and light in nature than “The Big Sick”.

Last but not least, do yourself a favor and don’t read too much about the movie before you go to watch it. The Internet is full of spoilers and particularly with this movie, knowing too many details will not serve you. Try to trust me if you can and just go for it!

Do you think that parents have a say in a choice of their children’s partner and career when the child is financially independent? Is it acceptable for parents to bully and blackmail their children to make they do what they want? Have your say!




Papa don’t preach – Parents don’t know best


This post is mostly inspired by “parental control” experiences of my own and of my friends. Even though their children are not really children anymore, the parents tend to preach and to think that only THEY know what’s good for their children when it comes to love.

Most people who have been single for a while experienced the get yourself a boyfriend/girlfriend pressure from their parents’ side. Between relationships they give you a time gap of more or less three months after which they start to ask you again whether you met someone interesting. In the time when you’re single they ask you whether you’re not too picky, they remind you you’re not getting any younger, they enumerate your friends who already have families and even point at your personal traits as potential partner deterrents (“you’ve always been a bit difficult”). In doing that they don’t help you find the right partner. They make you resent them and feel bad about yourself. Bad news is that it never ends. Get a boyfriend and they’ll start to mention moving in together, then marriage and finally kids. You can never be where your parents think you should be. Even if you feel happy they’ll make you question it.

Another thing is the choice of partner which parents tend to disapprove of. The good news is that the closer you get to your 30th birthday the less pressure they put on the choice of a partner (just get one already!). You can’t be too picky if your child is a slightly-aged good that’s approaching their “sell by” date. When I was younger, however, my mother used to disapprove of my partners on silly grounds such as – comes from a small village, different nationality, a journalist (not a serious profession), must be lying about him being a doctor etc,etc. The rule seemed always the same – get someone but we both now that someone will never reach my expectations.

The most twisted things about the parents is that they do all that because they love us and THINK that what worked for them and what they think is right will work for us. Only that times have changed. We reach independence later partly because of the labour market that exploits students and young professionals, partly because every one else does. A wedding isn’t something girls write about in their diaries every day anymore. Like children we want it but  someday somehow and not right here right now. When we find someone special we want to live and experience life together but the rest isn’t a priority. After all if others are preggies only after 30 why do we have to cut our life enjoyment short? Because our parents think we should?

Parents want to help but often instead of doing that they become a nagging presence that’s never happy with what is. Maybe through their children they’re trying to sort out their own lives, maybe they can’t accept that their children are adults and actually know what is good for them and what makes them happy. They should really just chill.

So Dear Rinsers, have you experienced parental pressure and other instances of parents thinking they know what’s good for you? Share your stories.

Meet the Parents

image Meeting your partner’s parents is an unavoidable part of dating. Dreaded by most people as a job interview but differs from the latter in the respect that it’s something quite impossible to prepare for. Making a good first impression is crucial, but let’s be honest, if we’re not supposed to gel with the parents and we’re not the sort of people they would like, the first impression will quite quickly wear off.

Why is it so difficult to impress the parents? Partially, because they come from a different world which is not our “natural” socializing environment. If you’re a regular person in your late twenties, you’re rather unlikely to be hanging out with 50 years old silver foxes and vixens (unless you have a soft spot for them like our friend #englishrosiee). Therefore the skills and qualities your friends and partners may find impressive, e.g. drinking everyone under the table, burping out the whole alphabet or clapping with insides of your over-straightend elbows (guilty as charged), may not be equally admirable according to our partner’s parents values. Playing it safe and only saying what’s polite and acceptable by everyone may also not be the best option because we may end up being described as nice (even if with the quantifier “very”) which truly translates into “I don’t know what you see in this insipid girl but I can’t find anything too obviously wrong with her, after all she does have a pair of hands and legs and only one head”.

What is the key to impressing the parents or at least making them not hate us immediately? Being yourself would seem to be the best bet. Even though we think that the stress may make us slur incomprehensibly without drinking (if you’re a foreigner you can always get away with it by blaming it on your accent) or for no apparent reason stick a chopstick into our eye instead of our mouth (a bit more difficult to explain) that’s probably not going to happen. At the end of the day, we’re not going to be dating the parents (hopefully, it would be quite awkward) and they should and in most cases do understand it. All they want is for their children to be happy and if they have some weird possessiveness over their children as often happens in the case of single parents, who keep criticizing their children’s partners for the most made up reasons, the best you can do is not to let their issues become yours.

In brief, be yourself, try to behave normal and if it doesn’t make them like you remember that it’s not you it’s them 😉