“Let’s Define,” now on Netflix, is an invigorating activity about mental health, identity challenges

In Sujata’s Day Definition Please, now available on Netflix, the title is an important clue in addition to a reference to the spelling questions contestants often use to buy time. How do you define success in adulthood, amid societal and cultural expectations and stereotypes? How do you define mental illness and what does mental health care look like when there is no context or example to consider? How do you define yourself, in relation to complex family dynamics?

The film, which premiered last August at the Bentonville Film Festival, challenges the easy answers while exposing the classic model minority of South Asians pursuing stereotypical career paths: uncle. doctor, lawyer, engineer. It dares to portray a young woman whose sole purpose in life is not to leave her small town and try to climb the social or professional ranks. Instead, the main character in Definition Please temporarily inactive, introspective and just trying to figure out what makes her stuff, a new change of pace from the undaunted ambitious South Asian characters and cultural expectations fatigue seen in the mainstream media.

Day writes, directs, and produces the story of Monica Chowdry, the Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion (played by Day herself), who struggles to find her way through adulthood after a brief success. barking in childhood. Things have also become heavy at home: her father has just passed away, she has to take care of her (sick) mother, and she is estranged from her brother, who is living with untreated bipolar disorder. .

The inspiration for the film came from Day’s involvement in the real life of her 4th grade spelling bee. After losing in the first round of the region to the word “turnip,” she thinks about the path from a former bee spelled champion to a successful future pro – and decides to explore the pressure. happens when that is not the case. Monica’s childhood success comes with an assumption of adult ambitions that she fails to meet – and that’s okay. Everyone around her remembers the past: her mother continues to watch videos of her triumphant moment, and even her fleeting lover Richie (played by Jake Choi) reminds her that she is a “human person.” legally famous”. This attraction for what she to be Perhaps that’s why Monica has become so difficult personally and professionally, that she spends her time tutoring potential spelling learners back home instead of seriously considering a word. promising job offer in Cleveland.

Courtesy of June Street Productions

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/definition-please-netflix-empowering-take-on-mental-health-identity-challenges-review “Let’s Define,” now on Netflix, is an invigorating activity about mental health, identity challenges

Charles Jones

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