From the mind of Miranda July (“Me You And Everyone We Know”, “Nest Of Tens (Short)”) comes Kajillionaire, a sweet story filled with black humour.
Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld (TV)”, “Frozen 2”) is Old Dolio, named after a local homeless man who won the lottery, a twenty-something living with her parents Theresa, Debra Winger (“Forget Paris”, “Terms Of Endearment”) and Robert, Richard Jenkins (“The Shape Of Water”, “Bone Tomahawk”).
They live in an office at the side of a bubble factory, which you know because twice a day, sometimes three times a day, the back wall overflows with bubbles and the three of them rush to clean the wall down, less it fall down of its own accord.
The family are schemers, always looking for the next easy way to get some cash; returning goods, forging checks, stealing, whatever they can to get some cash.
Old Dolio comes up with a scam that involves the three of them flying to New York and, on the return, she will claim she’s lost her baggage (which her parents will take) and get the insurance which will more than cover the rent they owe the landlord.
On the flight back, Theresa and Robert end up sitting next to non-stop talker Melanie, Gina Rodriguez (“Deepwater Horizon”, “Jane The Virgin (TV)”), and end up telling them what they’re up to and she jumps on board.
The foursome pull off a few scams, gain a little money, but you can see that Melanie is looking at Old Dolio with, something. Is it pity? Attraction?
When Old Dolio helps out a pregnant woman, attending a class on her behalf, she becomes interested in why her life hasn’t involved tenderness and love from her parents, why they’ve never called her “hun” for example.
She falls out with her parents over this and winds up living at Melanie’s. This is uncomfortable for her, but Melanie takes charge, making a list of things they should do together, simple things like eat pancakes, call her “hun”, dance.
Old Dolio’s parents attempt to get her back, buy her all the presents she’s missed out on, taking her for a swanky meal. But is it genuine? Or are they running a job on their own daughter?
Kajillionaire is a lovely film from start to finish. It’s full of heart but it’s the stand-out performances from all involved that really help things along.
Evan is delightful as Old Dolio, it’s a huge character transformation from how we’ve seen her previously. Winger and Jenkins as her parents are heartbreakingly funny, blunt and absent even when they’re around.
When Rodriguez arrives on the scene the whole film shifts in tone. She’s a touch more “normal” than our trio but still lying herself, with a strained relationship of her own to her mother.
She’s a whirlwind who, on the one hand, is so sure of herself but yet there’s an element of doubt in her, but when she’s around Old Dolio it all vanishes.
Kajillionaire is a film worth seeking out. It will bring a little joy to your heart.