Definition Please begins with a Spelling Bee and uses words and the spelling of words throughout. Young Monica becomes the National Spelling Bee Champion in 2005. Jump ahead to 2020 and Monica is still living at home and working tutoring gigs as she cares for her mother. Everyone agrees she’s not living up to her potential. The film is on Netflix.
Definition Please was written and directed by Sujata Day, who also starred as adult Monica. She had a job offer in Cleveland but stayed in Greensburg with her mother because her mother was dying. She filled her days with smoking weed, painting, and fussing over her mother.
Monica’s mother, Jaya (Anna Khaja), had lost her husband one year ago. She asked her son, Sonny (Ritesh Rajan), to come back from California for a memorial for his father that the Hindu family would celebrate after one year.
When Monica arrives home one afternoon and finds Sonny there, we see immediately that there is something wrong with the relationship between brother and sister.
Maybe there’s something wrong with Sonny’s relationship with his mother, too, because that night both mother and daughter lock their bedroom doors.
The remainder of the film tells the story of what that fracture is and how the three of them go about trying to heal it while they are together. The issues are revealed slowly around Sonny. Monica has her own issues to deal with if she is ever going to move out of her mother’s house and begin her own life.
Monica’s best friend Krista (Lalaine) has plenty of advice to offer Monica to get her to step away and into her own life. However, it’s honest talk between Monica and Sonny and their mom that finally gets to the heart of the problem. Only then can progress be made.
The ways the family dysfunction were revealed were delicate and made everyone’s issues and problems clear and understandable. The story is beautifully told, with its slow reveal and unraveled mysteries wrapped up in a South Asian gift wrapping.
A bit of fun from the creator.