Kajillionaire is the latest film from acclaimed writer/director Miranda July, starring Debra Winger as Theresa Dyne, Richard Jenkins as Robert Dyne and Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio Dyne, an eccentric family of swindlers whose lives come to a turning point when they meet Gina Rodriguez’s character, Melanie, in this strange comedy.
In her 26 years Old Dolio Dyne has known nothing other than the grifter’s life, she and her parents live in ridiculous circumstances in which their lives revolve around scams and suds.
When Old Dolio takes a parenting class (in return for $20) she starts to discover the parental bonding she has been denied. This sense of denial and loss is heightened when on a hastily conceived heist the family meet Melanie, a mollycoddled young woman keen to get in on the Dyne family business.
Sometimes stories are too hard to tell without a comic edge, with its cast of cartoon-like characters Kajillionaire is bittersweet storytelling at its best. We all grow up believing the way our family does thing is ‘the right way’, in Kajillionaire Miranda July explores how the nuclear family can be cult-like and, like any cult-member, how a child can find it hard to discover a life outside their family.
Rachel Evan Wood is a revelation as Old Dolio Dyne, ridiculous, melancholy and bendy. This is a cold tale that finds its heart.
Kajillionaire will be screening as part of the 64th BFI London Film Festival on the 7th October, and on UK general release from 9th October