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Flash Movie Review: The Big Sick

WALKING into the room I thought I was prepared for what I would see. I guess I was not because they were stretched out on the sofa, propped up with pillows that made them look like crumbled facial tissue. They were pale and listless with faded eyes that could only open halfway. My germaphobic tendencies were in a tug of war with my desire to take care of them. I do not always win this war; there are times I have to be lead in under a fog of just released air sanitizer and rubber gloves. The underlying motivation that pushes me is my love for them. When I am deep in a relationship it can be so painful for me to see my loved one sick that I would rather be the one with the illness; you know that says a lot coming from someone who avoids door handles and elevator buttons.     ILLNESS is part of life; there is no way to avoid a sickness though heaven knows I keep trying. When one begins a love relationship they usually are not thinking about the possibility of being a caregiver at some point. The beginning stages of romance involve intimate dinners, exciting or restful travels, being schooled in the likes and dislikes of the other; all wonderful and valid experiences that form a solid foundation in which the two can build their relationship on. To have a sickness at the beginning stages of a deep love can be a painful test of one’s commitment. I have known a few individuals who could not handle the responsibilities associated with being a supportive partner during their loved one’s sickness. It is an ugly situation no matter how you look at it. I will never forget being in the early stages of dating this person who kept commenting about the hair on my chest. It seemed a bit over the top to me so I asked how they would feel if I ever had to go through chemo and lost it. They had to stop and think about it.     FROM what only appeared to be a hook-up turned into a growing romance between stand up comic Kumail and graduate student Emily, played by Kumail Nanjiani (Central Intelligence, Silicon Valley-TV) and Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks, What If). The relationship would not sit well with Kumail’s parents who were planning for his marriage. This film festival winning romantic comedy based on true events was utterly charming in a new fresh way from the typical rom-com. With Holly Hunter (Strange Weather, The Big White) as Beth, Ray Romano (Rob the Mob, The Last Word) as Terry and Zenobia Shroff (When Harry Tries to Marry, Percy) as Sharmeen; the actors made up a solid ensemble with Holly and Zoe being the stand outs for me. The script was intelligent and had an easy flow between comedy, intimacy, sadness and reality. I was fascinated by the added element of cultural differences provided by Kumail and his family. The way humor was drawn out from several of their scenes was done with kindness and affection. One example on the smartness of the script was the inclusion of the standup comedy sessions; it provided a nice balance to the illness element. The diagnosis for this movie is it will not make you sick, you will feel good instead and it will show you perseverance; just what the movie doctor ordered.

 

3 ½ stars  

 

 

Flash Movie Review: What If

The most casual of settings with a group of people mingling about the room. There was sporadic laughter in the air that mixed in with chattering voices spanning across the musical scales. Standing at the beverage table you made eye contact with the person next to you, who was in the middle of tasting their drink. An exchange of greetings easily flowed into talking about who you knew at the party to likes and dislikes to world topics; each subject discussed seemed to peel away layer after layer of nervousness until you felt completely at ease in your own vulnerability. You had not expected to meet someone at the party but you sensed something special was happening. Your body felt as if it had been injected with a dose of pure caffeine that was making your blood speed through your body, rushing up to your brain to form bubbles of joy. Things were moving smoothly and you were even happy to say you were single when asked if you were seeing anyone. In turn you asked them if they were dating and the most dreaded words you could have imagined plopped out of their mouth: “Yes, my boyfriend was not able to make it here tonight.” You felt your heart pop inside of your chest, eliminating the rarified blood of anticipated happiness. Of course, you avoided showing disappointment in your face and as the night progressed the 2 of you continued conversing as if nothing dramatic had happened–at least in your mind. When you were asked if you wanted to exchange contact information and hang out sometime, not only did you immediately say yes; you exclaimed you would enjoy being friends with both of them. Did you really think that was possible?    THIS was a similar dilemma Wallace, played by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter franchise, Kill Your Darlings), faced when he met Chantry, played by Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks, Fracture), at a party. This award winning film worked well because of the cast. Each of the characters were interesting and the actors, including Adam Driver (Frances Ha, Inside Llewyn Davis) as Allan, played off of each other in a realistic way. The script for this comedic drama was essentially good; however, parts of it were predictable which slowed down the action for me. I will say I have been impressed with Daniel’s film choices, because it never crossed my mind I was watching Harry Potter in this romantic movie. Take it from someone who has been there, I was glad I was not the one having Wallace’s predicament in this cool film with the indie vibe.

 

2 3/4 stars

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