Dave, this dovetails into my take that a key theme, if not central theme of the story is Intolerance vs. Tolerance. Obviously, the story is grounded in Kumail’s experience as a Pakistani living in the U.S. and much of his stand-up comedy reflects the ways in which immigrants are perceived as The Other by mainstream Americans. We see this mirrored in how Terry and Beth respond to Kumail when they first meet him. And we see it in how Kumail’s parents respond to the revelation that Kumail has rejected his religion, the idea of arranged marriage. The fact his mother will not speak with him when Kumail is heading off to NYC speaks to her struggle with intolerance.
But the most interesting variation on this theme is how Emily is, at first, completely tolerant, to the point of sleeping with Kumail on their first not-even-a-date, but once she learns about the other women in his life, even once Kumail explains the whole arranged marriage thing and how he can’t yet break free from his parents’ expectations, she moves into a place of intolerance. This extends even beyond her waking up from the coma.
That’s a clever twist on expectations: A presumably progressive young woman responds to intolerance with her own personal brand of intolerance.
To me, the movie has a particular resonance given the zeitgeist in the U.S., our whole messed up political situation. The fear and demonization of The Other, our institutional intolerance. In this regard, both The Big Sick and Get Out are important movies which confront head-on the issue of xenophobia. The Big Sick celebrates recognizing the humanity in The Other. Get Out explores the depravity of those who would dehumanize The Other.
Now more than ever, we need stories which put a human face on those whose skin color is different than ours. The Big Sick and Get Out do that… in very different ways.