Sujata Day’s delightful dramedy follows a former spelling bee champ still struggling to make good on her childhood promise while contending with a complex family life.
When we meet Monica Chowdry in 2005, the eight-year-old is on top of the world as champion of Scripps National Spelling Bee. Fast-forward to present day: grown-up Monica (writer-director Sujata Day) is still living at home in Greensburg, Pennsylvania with her ailing mom Jaya (Anna Khaja), making a living tutoring a new crop of future overachievers while hesitating to make any big moves in her own life. Monica faces an unwelcome disruption in her mundane routine when her older brother Sonny (Ritesh Rajan) reappears from out of the blue. A sweet-natured, fitness-obsessed goofball, Sonny blithely refuses to address his bipolar disorder, and Monica is wary of embracing his presence lest they repeat past traumas. Known for her role on HBO’s INSECURE, Day has crafted an assured directorial debut that pays loving homage to Bollywood fantasy while offering a refreshingly nuanced look at a complicated South Asian-American family. An effervescent, feel-good film packing a genuine emotional punch, DEFINITION PLEASE is a lovely meditation on mental health, cultural expectations, and the universal challenges of growing up.
CAST: Sujata Day, Ritesh Rajan, Anna Khaja, Jake Choi
In Competition: Pinkenson Award
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