Review: Kajillionaire (Sundance 2020)

Title: Kajillionaire
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Miranda July
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins

What It Is: Old Dolio (Wood) and her parents Robert (Jenkins) and Theresa (Debra Winger) are grifters living on as little as possible. They hustle and take whatever they can in order to keep going without having to do too much you know…working. When on a cross country trek from Los Angeles (where they live) to New York they run into a stranger named Melanie (Rodriguez) who gets clued in on the hustles by Robert. Is she a willing accomplice though?

What We Think: July is known as quite an eccentric director. This is the first time (in three attempts) that she isn’t featured in one of her features. Instead, we get Evan Rachel Wood giving a performance that is probably a career-best. Her Old Dolio is a character much in the vein of July’s previous works. Gina Rodriguez is also fantastic and altogether the dialogue is fun, witty and refreshing. There’s never a movie like whatever July brings. Narratively Robert and Theresa are annoyances for the audience constantly seeking their next big scam instead of earning it. July’s influence is evident in the camerawork. Some of the shots in this are wholly unique and exacerbate the comedic stretches.

Our Grade: A-, The quirk of this entire exercise might prove detrimental to the experience of some. If the film finds you you’re not going to want to let it out of your sight. If it doesn’t I feel bad for you. Los Angeles as a backdrop here is really well shot and everything is so much fun, so emotional and so subtle that I left the theater in a much better mood then I went in. That ending, man. It’s a perfect one…even if you kinda see it coming.


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