Stills Disease Dominates the Big Screen in the Critically-Acclaimed The Big Sick

Mathew Shanley

After blockbusters like 2010’s Extraordinary Measures and 1998’s The Mighty, the rare disease community has once again made its way into theaters with The Big Sick.
Based on the real-life events of the film’s star Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick tells the tale of his courtship of his now-wife Emily V. Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan). After connecting at a comedy show and the presumed one-night stand that followed, Kumail and Emily continue their relationship to the dismay of his traditional Muslim parents.
After Emily is diagnosed with adult-onset Still’s Disease (AOSD), Kumail is torn between pleasing his parents, and following his heart, which always leads him back to Emily, and navigating her newfound condition with her parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano).
AOSD is a rare systemic auto inflammatory disease characterized by persistent high fevers, joint pain, and a distinctive salmon-colored bumpy rash. Other symptoms can include enlargement of the liver and spleen, swollen lymph nodes, and an increased white blood cell count. It presents in a similar manner to several other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, which all must be ruled out before a proper diagnosis. AOSD can result in fluid accumulation in the lungs, heart or kidneys, which can, in turn, cause severe life-threatening complications.
No drugs are currently approved for AOSD but, in most cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids such as prednisone, can be beneficial. An open-label study by Nordstrom et al observed that anakinra, the interleukin 1 antagonist used to treat arthritis, can be effective in treating AOSD.  
The movie released in theaters nationwide on June 23, and is already getting rave reviews from critics. It currently has a 97% total score and a 91% audience score on the online movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
“All the best romantic comedies get even better upon repeat viewings. I'm fully confident The Big Sick will pass that test the next time I see it, which will be very soon,” said Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Yes, The Big Sick is a comedy, but it's a comedy that offers up about a million reasons to cry,” said Angie Han of Mashable.
“Comic Kumail Nanjiani and his wife/co-screenwriter Emily V. Gordon carve this heartfelt love story out of her health crisis and their own culture-clash relationship. Not just the funniest romcom in ages, it's one of 2017's best films,” said Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.
The trailer for The Big Sick can be seen below:

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