Kajillionaire: Miranda July’s Singular Tale of Eccentric Family, Starring Indie Icons Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins

Miranda July maintains her status as a singular artist with her latest eccentric feature, Kajillionaire, a serio-comedy deconstructing the nature of one nuclear family.

Grade: B (*** out of *****)

Kajillionaire
Kajillionaire poster.jpeg

Theatrical release poster

The film benefits immensely from its skillful and likable actors, headed by Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins.

At the center of the tale, written by July, are members of a close-knit petty crime family whose already entangled relationships become threatened, frayed, and changed, when a young, sexy female stranger (Gina Rodriguez) joins their schemes.

World-premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Fest, where July had made a splash with her 2005 debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know, but stumbled with her second film, The Future.

The tale’s protagonist is Old Dolio Dyne, a young woman of 26 who’s in manipulative relationship with her con artist parents. She’s treat by then as an accomplice to their petty thefts rather than as a daughter.

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.

The Dyne family pride themselves on being skimmers, living on bare minimum income, unlike other, more typical American families, who worship money and aim to be kajillionaires. Experiencing a bad run of luck, the family owe months of back rent on their apartment, which is an office space attached to a soap factory.

The family dynamics change upon meeting Melanie, a pretty young woman, who proves to be surprisingly amenable to their way of life. She introduces the family to her elderly clients, whom they rip off for small sums of cash.

When Melanie outlives her usefulness as crime partner, the parents decide to initiate a threesome. Old Dolio, heartbroken to hear her mother call Melanie “hon,” offers Melanie the travel insurance money if she’ll move in with her, and Melanie accepts her offer.

The film was released in theaters on September 25, 2020, followed by video on demand on October 16 by Focus Features in domestically and by Universal internationally.

Cast

Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio Dyne
Richard Jenkins as Robert Dyne
Debra Winger as Theresa Dyne
Gina Rodriguez as Melanie Whitacre
Mark Ivanir as Stovik Mann
Rachel Redleaf as Kelli Medford
Patricia Belcher as Althea

Credits:

Directed, written by Miranda July
Produced by Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Youree Henley

Written by Miranda July
Music by Emile Mosseri
Cinematography Sebastian Winterø
Edited by Jennifer Vecchiarello

Production companies: Plan B Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures

Distributed by Focus Features (US); Universal (International)

Release date: January 25, 2020 (Sundance); September 25, 2020 (US)

Running time” 106 minutes