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About The Story
In the literal sense, "Spanglish” is a hybrid of Spanish and English, a dialect spoken by nearly 40 million Latinos living in the United States. As used in the title of James L. Brooks' latest comedy, it refers to the intermingling of these disparate cultures when they end up living together under one roof. According to Brooks, "There's so much that's amazingly different between these two cultures and this movie has so much to do with where they meet, and where they can never meet. One of the places where they can meet, and where the characters of Flor and John find common ground, is in their approach toward raising their children. Each is comfortable with their children being preeminent in the living of their lives.”

As far as Flor and "the lady of the house” are concerned, the culture clash is deep and vivid. Flor's take on life is that continuity is key. Her idea of personal success is based on her child being able to say with pride and purpose, "I am my mother's daughter.” Deborah, on the other hand, lives in fear of becoming anything like her mother, who was a wildly irresponsible parent during her formative years and has become, maddeningly, a perfect, loveable grandmother to her children.

At the beginning of the film, Flor, a native of Mexico is left with little money and few options as a single parent to her beloved six year-old daughter, Cristina. As Brooks explains, "Flor feels enormous guilt for having married a man who couldn't properly be a parent and buries all her needs as a young woman to devote herself to her child. This devotion is neither a sacrifice nor martyrdom, but the most natural thing in the world to her.”

Seeking a better life for her daughter, Flor flees Mexico and settles in a Latino community in Los Angeles, which she never leaves. She effectively remains rooted in a world and language with which she is familiar and removed from American culture until the day she is hired as the Clasky's housekeeper. As the narrator (Christina, six years after the close of the film) puts it, "After all her time in America, she finally enters a foreign land.”

John and Deborah Clasky (Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni) are having difficulty in their marriage. John is a loving, patient and steady father and husband as well as the chef and owner of an up and coming restaurant. Deborah has recently lost her job at a commercial design company and is now in the throes of an identity crisis. Her career had enabled her to channel some of her nervous energy. Without that outlet, her insecurities threaten the family's stability. As Brooks points out, "Deborah is going through a major early midlife-crisis (she's in her late 30s), which is affecting everyone around her. A professional type-A successful woman, able to work hard (and be properly guilty about doing so), she loses her job and is thrust into being a full-time mom. A profound and enormously correct sense of her own inadequacy envelops her. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body, but her desperation is sure doing some damage.”

Adds Leoni: "Deborah is almost completely self-absorbed, dangerously insecure and there isn't anyone who hates her more than she hates herself … I guess that's her most redeeming quality”. The comic potential for her character was a challenge for Leoni. "Deborah is so close to being a good mother, a good wife, a good person…she is almost intelligent, almost appropriate, almost understanding, and almost has a sense of humor, but not quite. Once I had figured out that it was a matter of ‘almost,' she became a more sympathetic character and her actions became forgivable and funny.”

When Deborah goes shopping and returns with clothes that are a size too small for her daughter. "Deborah truly believes that what she's doing is loving, protecting and supporting her daughter,” says Leoni. "Although her methods

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