Kajillionaire

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Kajillionaire
Kajillionaire poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMiranda July
Produced by
Written byMiranda July
Starring
Music byEmile Mosseri
CinematographySebastian Winterø
Edited byJennifer Vecchiarello
Production
companies
Distributed byFocus Features
(United States)
Universal Pictures
(International)
Release date
  • January 25, 2020 (2020-01-25) (Sundance)
  • September 25, 2020 (2020-09-25) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.4 million[2][3]

Kajillionaire is a 2020 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Miranda July. The film stars Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins as members of a close-knit petty crime family whose relationship becomes frayed when a stranger played by Gina Rodriguez joins their schemes.

Kajillionaire had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020 and was released in theaters on September 25, 2020, followed by video on demand on October 16, 2020 by Focus Features in the United States and by Universal Pictures internationally.

Plot[edit]

A 26-year-old woman, known as Old Dolio Dyne, is in a manipulative relationship with her con artist parents, who treat her as an accomplice to their petty thefts and scams rather than as a daughter. The entire family pride themselves on being skimmers and living on the bare minimum income, unlike other people who worship money and try to be kajillionaires.

After a particularly bad run of luck, the family owe several months of back rent on their $500-per-month apartment, which is actually an office space attached to a soap factory. Unable to come up with money, Old Dolio concocts a scam where they will travel to New York City, using tickets they won in a contest, and her parents will take her luggage, allowing Old Dolio to claim the airline has lost it. Old Dolio will then purchase travel insurance which will be enough to cover their rent.

After an uneventful trip, Old Dolio and her parents return home. She is surprised to find them chatting with Melanie, a pretty young woman in the seat next to them, and even more surprised when they reveal their scam to Melanie and have her pretend to be their daughter as they pick up the luggage. Old Dolio reveals she reported her "lost luggage", but tells them it could take several weeks for the check to come, so the family looks for alternative methods to make up the money.

Melanie proves to be surprisingly amenable to their way of life and reveals she is a physician assistant in ophthalmology. She introduces the family to her elderly clients, whom they rip off for small sums of cash. This goes awry when a dying man asks the family to pretend to be his family as he passes away. Old Dolio is shaken by the experience, and is hurt when her parents immediately rush to comfort Melanie while ignoring Old Dolio herself. Arriving home, Old Dolio discovers the check for the insurance in the mail.

Back at home, realizing that Melanie has outlived her usefulness as a partner in their schemes, Old Dolio's parents decide to initiate a threesome with Melanie which she reacts badly to. They are interrupted by Old Dolio, who is heartbroken to hear her mother call Melanie "hon" and offers Melanie the entire travel insurance money to do the same to her. Old Dolio's mother refuses, but Melanie accepts Old Dolio's offer and takes her to her apartment.

Rather than simply call Old Dolio "hon", Melanie offers a "full-service" treatment fulfilling emotional requirements which Old Dolio's parents failed to meet. A few days later, Old Dolio's parents turn up to Melanie's apartment telling Old Dolio they love and miss her and presenting her with 17 birthday presents, promising the 18th one at dinner the following night. Old Dolio and Melanie attend dinner where Old Dolio's parents gift her a necklace and swear they will change. They return to Melanie's apartment and tuck Old Dolio into bed. Melanie, who has hidden the insurance money in her fuse box, tells Old Dolio that if her parents have stolen the money they are monsters, while Old Dolio says if the money is still there, it is proof her parents have changed. She also comes up with a third possibility; that her parents will have left behind $525, her third of the cash, signifying that this is the only way they are capable of loving her. To Melanie and Old Dolio's surprise, the cash is completely there.

The following morning, Melanie and Old Dolio awaken to find that Melanie has been completely robbed, with the entire furnishings of the apartment gone. The only thing left are Old Dolio's 17 presents. Realizing they are refundable, Old Dolio and Melanie take them to be returned. The total price of the items is $485.05, until Melanie realizes they forgot to return Old Dolio's necklace, bringing the total to $525, Old Dolio's share of the insurance money. Old Dolio and Melanie kiss as the film ends in the store.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In March 2018, it was announced Miranda July would write and direct the film, with Brad Pitt and Youree Henley producing the film, under their Plan B Entertainment and Annapurna Pictures banners, respectively.[4] That same month, Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger and Gina Rodriguez joined the cast of the film.[5] In June 2018, Mark Ivanir joined the cast of the film.[6]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began in May 2018.[7]

Release[edit]

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020.[8] Shortly after, A24 was announced to be in negotiations to acquire distribution rights to the film.[9] However, Focus Features acquired the U.S. rights to distribute the film, with Universal Pictures distributing the film internationally.[10][11][12] It was released in theaters on September 25, 2020, followed by video on demand on October 16, 2020.[13] It was previously scheduled to be released on September 18, 2020, and June 19, 2020.[12][14]

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89% based on 178 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Whether you see Kajillionaire as refreshingly unique or simply bizarre will depend on your cinematic adventurousness -- and fans of writer-director Miranda July wouldn't have it any other way."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kajillionaire". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  2. ^ "Kajillionaire". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "Kajillionaire". The Numbers. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (March 15, 2018). "Miranda July Sets Family Drama Movie With Plan B, Annapurna". Variety. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys; Galuppo, Mia (March 29, 2018). "Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez to Star in Miranda July Heist Feature (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (June 7, 2018). "Film News Roundup: Eddie Murphy to Star in Biopic 'Dolemite Is My Name' for Netflix". Variety. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Filming in May: Miranda July to Direct Upcoming Untitled Heist Film in California This May". Production List. May 13, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  8. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  9. ^ Donnelly, Matt (January 29, 2020). "A24 Closing In on Miranda July's Sundance Player 'Kajillionaire' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  10. ^ Donnelly, Matt (February 6, 2020). "Focus Features Closing Deal for Miranda July's 'Kajillionaire' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Pederson, Erik (March 10, 2020). "'Kajillionaire' & 'Come Play' Get Release Dates From Focus Features". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  12. ^ a b D’Alessandro, Anthony (May 27, 2020). "'Kajillionaire' Will Now Cash In This Fall At Theaters". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 28, 2020). "'Kajillionaire' Cashing In A Week Later This Fall With PVOD Soon After – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  14. ^ Pederson, Erik (March 10, 2020). "'Kajillionaire' & 'Come Play' Get Release Dates From Focus Features". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  15. ^ "Kajillionaire (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  16. ^ "Kajillionaire Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 10, 2020.

External links[edit]