Kajillionaire had its UK premiere earlier this week as part of London Film Festival 2020 and is now in cinemas around the country. The newest film from Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know) follows an oddball family of grifters who live their life off the grid. When their paths cross with free spirit Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) starts to question her life with her parents and how she has been raised.
It’s a bizarre film that holds you at arm’s length, but coming from a filmmaker like July, that is to be expected. However, as we learn more about these characters and Old Dolio begins to evaluate her place in the world, we are drawn further in to itscharming brilliance.
Wood is heart-breaking in the role of Old Dolio. If like me you’ve followed her work since Thirteen up to her most recent work in Westworld, you’ll already know this. But even here she feels completely new and reinvented. Cold on the outside, you can see the cracks forming and a scene involving imaginary hair brushing will all but break your heart.
Rodriguez is charming as the accidental tagalong turned love interest. Watching Old Dolio through her eyes as she starts to fall for the aloof and damaged young woman is something special. You so want Old Dolio to accept the love she deserves.
Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger fully commit to their roles as parents Robert and Theresa. Dialogue around staying off the grid and an insanely wrong understanding of earthquakes keeps you chuckling, and you can never truly get to grips with where their hearts and loyalties lie. You’ll be huffing, tutting and screaming along with the antics of the whole family, but at its core it’s a truly heart-warming and uplifting film.
July both wrote and directed the piece and the visual style even down to the style of backpacks used is perfect. Every frame is touched with delicate care and allows the audience to truly empathise and understand Old Dolio as the film progresses.
A wonderfully offbeat film for the indie film fan. (And a beautiful soundtrack too!)