In the middle of becoming a budding stand-up comedian, Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) meets Emily (Zoe Kazan). Despite their cultural differences and Kumail’s parents’ desire for him to marry a Muslim, a romance develops between them. But a sudden illness strikes, forcing Emily to be put into a medically induced coma. Kumail must navigate being a comedian, dealing with tragic illness and placating his family’s desire to let them fix him up with a spouse, while contemplating and figuring out who he really is and what he truly believes.
The Big Sick is a true story written by Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, based on their own relationship. It’s a thorough (and sometimes brutal) look at their relationship. The film is an exploration of relationships, culture, religion and family. Through Kumail’s daily visits to Emily, he begins to bond with her parents and win them over.
The clip for this session focuses on Kumail as he is confronted by his parents. Kumail has kept his relationship with Emily a secret and has been visiting her in hospital without his parents’ knowledge. Kumail’s parents voice their frustration that, after moving to America and sacrificing many things for their children, Kumail cannot accept their desire for him to settle down and marry a Muslim. In the ensuing conversation, Kumail admits that he doesn’t pray or practise Islam like his parents, much to their dismay.
Note that the purpose of this clip is not to take a critical view of Islam or Kumail’s parents. Instead, the conversation should be steered towards the idea of young people being expected to follow their parents’ beliefs and opinions. Therefore, it should be applicable to all young people, and those of a Christian faith.
- Is it fair for parents to expect their children to follow certain rules?
- Is Kumail being ungrateful towards his parents?
- Should children believe the same things as their parents?
- When different generations have conflicting views on morality and ethics, how do we determine who is correct?
Read Deuteronomy 21:18-21 together. After reading the passage, briefly explore the context. Discuss the following questions:
- If this command is in the Bible, why don’t Christians follow it today?
- This verse seems rather harsh. Is there any way it can be justified?
- Should children always respect and obey their parents?
- If Christians don’t follow this passage, should young Christians ignore Old Testament teachings on other topics, such as homosexuality?
If you have time, why not watch the whole of The Big Sick - noting that it is for older groups - so you can enjoy the clip in context?