A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family and true friends are there for you, in good times and bad. Forgiveness and boundaries are both important in healthy relationships. Child prodigies can feel pressure as adults to capitalize on their early successes or intellectual gifts. Traditions are worth maintaining.
Positive Role Models
Monica cares for her ailing mother and tries to help her brother, who struggles with bipolar disorder. She tutors kids and provides a loving role model for them. Her mother also does her best to give her son unconditional love, but she has been lying to her kids about something major. Monica's father was abusive toward her brother.
The main characters are of Indian heritage and celebrate those roots through prayers/blessings, foods, rituals, and celebrations. A White news anchor jokes that a young Indian-American spelling bee champion is "sweet as a glass of mango lassi." Monica's best friend is Hispanic and her boyfriend is Asian-American. He says his deceased uncle was racist. Sonny was revered by peers as the only athletic Indian-American kid growing up. An Indian-American schoolgirl is bullied by a group of White girls who call her a "dumb brown turd."
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Violence & Scariness
Sonny was abused by his father growing up and protected his sister from similar abuse, and he has his own history of violent outbursts. He threatens his sister's boyfriend with a baseball bat as a joke. A female friend of their mother's slaps and yells at them for being selfish and entitled. A schoolgirl is bullied and pushed around, and Monica comes to her rescue by knocking down one of her tormentors and calling her a "pile of s--t." Monica makes reference to a man who molested tween girls at a camp.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Monica calls a male friend from high school "licentious" (promiscuous). They have sex in a car; he's topless. Another time they kiss and it's presumed they slept together when they wake up the next morning and he's lying naked under a blanket (we see his bare bottom). Women admire a man's butt.
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Variations of "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "hell," "bitch," "d--k," "friggin," "pissed," "butt," "turd," "fool," "stupid," "God," "Jesus."
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Products & Purchases
Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Monica smokes joints regularly and shares them with her friends and family members. Her best friend works at a bar, where Monica drinks regularly. There's reference to her friend's past overdose. Sonny's personality changes when he takes medication.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Definition Please, a film about young adults who aren't quite ready to grow up, has some mature themes involving mental illness and parental abuse. There's also some sexual content, a man's bare bottom, drinking, and smoking (marijuana), and a lot of language. The main characters are of Indian heritage and celebrate those roots but also suffer from some stereotyping. One gets involved when she sees a young Indian-American girl getting bullied by White kids at school. A character struggles with mental illness, which has made him violent in the past; he's also still grappling with physical abuse by his own father when he was growing up. The film shows a troubled family who love each other deeply and offer each other forgiveness and support. Language includes variations of "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "hell," "bitch," "d--k," "friggin," "pissed," "butt," "turd," "fool," "stupid," "God," and "Jesus." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The complex and likeable characters of this film keep it interesting despite a slow-moving narrative arc and some awkward humor. The young adults in Definition Please, led by Indian-American Monica (director-star Day), her bipolar brother (a charismatic Rajan), and a couple of high school friends, have not yet truly launched. This purgatory phase naturally allows for a blend of drama (the difficulties of overcoming the past and facing the future) and humor (living a prolonged adolescence). An introductory montage of Monica's childhood fame, clips her mom still proudly watches, is concise and memorable.
Monica and her brother have some past trauma to deal with, but also a strong bond. Their banter and competitiveness are entertaining, but an overlong scene involving a play they put on for their mom is almost painful to watch. A surprise resolution to their mom's illness also doesn't get processed in a satisfactory way for the audience. Otherwise, the depiction of first versus second generation Indians in America feels right on, and setting many scenes to Indian music was an inspired choice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.