Billed as a romance, this is actually a nice film about parents and children–a subject some of us need to explore to understand more about our own.
Kumail is a Pakistani stand-up wanna-be (filmcompanion.com)whose traditional parents want him to be a lawyer and marry a Pakistani girl. He has trouble telling them that he doesn’t pray, he doesn’t want to study for the LSATs and is not open to meeting the eligible Pakistani girls they parade in front of him. (eater.com) Sound familiar?
He does, however, like Emily, a non-Pakistani white girl, very much only, of course, he is not able to confront that either with her or his parents. In fact, he lives a life of pretense, not succeeding very well in stand-up either. (collider.com)
Emily is a an absolutely straight human being who tells him she is “overwhelmed” by him. He responds, weakly and not surprisingly, she is disappointed. (fastcompany.com) Soon, she discovers his cache of Pakistani girls’ photos and realizes he has been lying to her, his parents and, also, the Pakistani girls. Heart-broken she breaks up with him.
Then she falls ill and in the best part of the movie, he visits her every day in the hospital where she lies in a medically induced coma, learning to love and appreciate her parents and, in the process, to understand that he loves Emily. In one of the best descriptions I have ever heard about how a good marriage partner feels about betraying his spouse, Emily’s dad, played in a star turn by Ray Romano, confides in Kumail the reason Emily’s mom is angry with him. Their relationship toward each other, toward Emily and toward Kumail are the foundation of the film.
(montereycountyweekly) After this trauma, Kumail finds the courage to face his parents with the truth and they tell him, as he had feared, that he’s out of the family. When Emily wakes, she’s not at the same place he is (having been unconscious while his transformation takes place) and she dismisses him. He realizes he has to go on with his life and moves to New York.
I will allow you to experience the end for yourselves, but I can only say that when his dad says, since he can never see him again that he insists Kumail text him as soon as his plane lands, reminds me very much of my own reversible “nevers” as a parent.
The script may be somewhat improvised but it’s fine and we grow to know the characters quite well. There is a modest Muslim religious element in the film, but it’s not the true theme. I recommend this movie–it’s funny, moving and insightful.