• Strictly Films

Kajillionaire; Miranda July Returns Behind the Camera. Grade: B-


Kajillionaire tells a story about a family of three, living in an abandoned office near a bubble factory, as day to day bubbles ooze from the walls... You read that right. This family lead by mother Theresa (Debra Winger), father Robert (Richard Jenkins), and daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood). Their landlord ask the family for their rent, as the family has promised the landlord they’ll have his money in a couple weeks. How the family makes money by get rich schemes, such as stealing from others mailboxes. Old Dolio has a plan in which they’ll go on a free airfare to New York City, as on the way back they’ll pretend one of their luggage was stolen, as they’ll be comp the rent money they needed. Along the way back the family has met Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), a lovely woman whom finds interest in helping this family in their get rich schemes. Witness a very odd ball comedy, that is a strange weird experience.


The Cinematography was fine, not the best looking film I’ve seen but certainly has some moments. The Score was cool, I liked the music in this film. The cast all in all for what the script is asking for... I thought everyone did a really good job. Evan Rachel Wood playing the lead Old Dolio was good, as this was honestly the strangest character I’ve seen all year long. The way this character talks and acts is just something you’ve never seen before out of a human being, it’s like she’s from a different planet the way she’s abnormal. But I believe due to the insincere nature of this family, as she feels obligated to follow their commands, as she really doesn’t get much of a feel to her own personal identity... It honestly makes sense. She believes in whatever this family believes in, as she never once experienced a life outside her own comfort zone, rather than just her family. So I guess in a way her mannerisms despite being so strange, make a lot of sense.


I did loved both Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger playing Old Dolio’s parents, they honestly don’t feel like genuine parents, more felt like a couple in which they brought a kid in this world, as they come to the conclusion they never once wanted one as Old Dolio is compared to the likes of a house pet. They treat her as a pawn for their get rich quick schemes and really nothing more than that, it honestly feels uncomfortable to even consider Old Dolio as their daughter. Gina Rodriguez playing Melanie was honestly solid, I felt this was a major bounce back from her misfires Miss Bala and Scoob. Melanie as a character felt completely off putting, as you try to understand why the hell does she spend time with this weird family?! I guess in a way Melanie was bored of her own life, so she figures since this family is rather fascinating, why not hang around them?! Melanie later on benefits our lone lost character Old Dolio, as she helps finds her true self, than being just used as an object in this family.


It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen this film, not only was I working hard to finish the New York Film Festival, but it was a film that is so weird it needed some time to sit on. Right after the film was over, I did later on research what the meaning behind this film was, as it was such a very particularly odd picture that reminisces in tone wise from the likes of Lemon. This is going to be a film in which audience will not like much of all, just by how weird and confusing this film appears to be... Which it is. But after having it sit for awhile, research throughly... This is honestly a deep film, that’s more than just an odd ball comedy.


It’s a film in which brings meaning towards the idea, of how family in a way tries to restricts their children, in becoming what they truly want to be. Director/Writer Miranda July was discussing how in a way, a Family is like a Cult. You know what as bizarre that might sound... She’s right in some way. Most often family members look down upon any family member, that is particularly different than the average norm, of what their family is used to seeing. If you don’t think the exactly the same, do things in a certain way, don’t like the same things they do, or follow your life anything different than what your family has done for generations... You’re consider an outsider, as I’ve seen this experience happen to several people.


Old Dolio’s parents kept Old Dolio from being anything other than a pawn for their rich schemes, as Old Dolio was more than comfortable in being just that because that’s how she was taught and raise. Old Dolio thought her parents did love her, as she was rewarded pancakes. But when Old Dolio went to a parenting/pregnancy clinic, in which they showed a young infant walking near the mothers breast, as the mother holds the child near her... That’s when Old Dolio started to realize something was off, the way her relationship was with he parents.


Old Dolio comes to think how come my parents never held me like that?! It was then Melanie’s acquaintance with the family, would make Old Dolio come to reality in just how Old Dolio was never treated as their own daughter. Old Dolio notices that Melanie gets all this love and attention for being a much better acquisition in their get rich quick scheme, than Old Dolio ever was. Not only that she notices the way they treat her much better than her, as they even call her a particular name that Old Dolio would never receive from them. When Old Dolio ask her own family to call the same name, Melanie had received but get this... Old Dolio request to be called this name as a BRIBE, as she offers the parents the money... Her parents still refused.


As Old Dolio spends more time with Melanie alone, she soon discovers whom she truly wants to be in life, as she realizes she never needed her family as her family was never there for her at all. She was apart of a system that never once attended her own needs, wants, and even more so her own feelings.


How this story is told is so strange, bizarre, and weird. But given with time and understanding... It’s honestly an emotionally riveting film, to all those whom felt it was unnecessary to be who you wanted to be, because of what your own family wanted you to be. I felt the comedy material had it’s moments, especially when the family encounters the landowner as I felt those scenes were hilarious. It’s definitely a film you’re going be scratching your head for awhile, but once you put it all together... It’s actually deep.


Overall, Kajillionaire is a solid gem. I recommend checking this one out, be warned this is not for everyone, it’s a very weird experience. -Mitch Smietana


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