SUNDANCE 2020 FESTIVAL REVIEW. Let me start by saying that I love Miranda July’s work. Me, You, and Everyone We Know is a classic. Her book No One Belongs Here More Than You is a piece of unparalleled quirky wit. Her other feature, The Future, is pretty great as well. Now there’s Kajillionaire, a film I was greatly looking forward to. Happily, this film was an extremely weird breath of fresh air.
“…to survive, the family steals people’s mail, shoplifts, signs up for internet and telephone sweepstakes, pretty much any sort of creative scam…”
Usually, it’s pretty easy for me to summarize the plot of a film. Kajillionaire is so unique that I feel that giving it a plot description will not entirely do it justice, but I will try. Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) are a couple, and Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) is their adult daughter. No one in the family has a job, and they all live in an abandoned office space next to a bubble factory. It only costs them $500 a month, because bubbles leak through the walls at the same time every day. They have set alarms on their watches, so they know when it is time to pick up the excess bubbles in buckets. It’s a sight to behold. In order to survive, the family steals people’s mail, shoplifts, signs up for internet and telephone sweepstakes, pretty much any sort of creative scam-like enterprise that does not involve actually working.
It’s too easy to say that the family is con-artists because they would actually have to be successful at conning people to be called that. However, Old Dolio has an idea that will get them enough money to pay their back rent to their landlord Stovik (Mark Ivanir). It involves them going on a trip they won to New York and an elaborate baggage mix-up scheme that will get Old Dolio the travel insurance money from their journey. A wrench is thrown in the works when Theresa and Robert are sitting next to a woman on the plane who they instantly become taken with named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez). Melanie wants to be involved in the plan, and Old Dolio is not cool with it. Melanie slowly creeps into the family’s life and helps them out with a new scheme involving stealing checks from the elderly. Old Dolio is really uncomfortable with Melanie being around because she thinks her parents like this new person more than her.
"…an extremely paranoid technophobe who thinks "THE BIG ONE"...is going to happen any minute"