Kajillionaire Review

Kajillionaire is revelatory. Much like the near-death experience Evan Rachel Wood’s character Old Doolio endures, it provides a genuine, vulnerable perspective to profoundly startling questions that plague our daily lives. How can we continue living in an uncertain world that offers very little reassurance? Why is pleasure so interlinked with pain? Is family an addiction? How do we proceed after conquering the everlasting paranoia of “The Big One”? It’s a glorious anxiety attack. It’s also Miranda July’s best film.

Miranda July and her exquisite ensemble strike the right chord of endearing humanity. The film and the actors never lose sight of empathy even when the narrative flirts with their actions’ darker nature. Richard Jenkins is always a welcome presence in any movie; here, he is an absolute treasure. Robert is not the most flattering character and, at times, a peril to his own family, but Jenkins blankets the role with conviction and heartbreaking belief. It’s a hoot. Gina Rodriguez lights up the screen making Evan Rachel Wood’s reaction to her all the more natural. Evan Rachel Wood is one of our finest actors, and her performance as Old Doolio is perhaps the best of her career. Disguising her voice in a low, flat tone and distorting her body to a lanky degree, she is a marvel to behold. Old Doolio is a victim of a lack of love within her family. A mini-heist forces them to behave outwardly, a glimpse inside the life she has always wanted but never truly realized. She begins to develop opinions of her own without outside influence after meeting Gina Rodriguez, and Evan Rachel Wood depicts this blossoming curiosity with grace. A scene when she dances uninhibitedly for what may be the first time in her life is a highlight, and Miranda July captures it in blissful, sun-kissed lighting. We don’t have the answers to life, but sometimes pancakes and dancing are the remedies we need and deserve.

The movie unspools in spontaneous, emotional movements, which is a beautiful contrast to its characters, who are determined to live scheduled, curated lives. Timelines are agreed upon. Sex and death are discussed as if they’re business transactions. Music is best listened to while holding during a phone call. A mysterious pink bubble oozes through walls at precisely 4 pm. The opening scene consists of a modest “heist” orchestrated in a vivid wide shot at a bus stop almost destroyed before beginning due to miscommunication. At the center is a disheveled family of three who meander to the beat of their drum because it’s all they have. Their only goal is to make it to another day by any means necessary, no room for emotion. And even that is threatened due to missed rent installments and the arrival of Gina Rodriguez’s absorbing, external character.

Miranda July and her exquisite ensemble strike the right chord of endearing humanity. The film and the actors never lose sight of empathy even when the narrative flirts with their actions’ darker nature. Richard Jenkins is always a welcome presence in any movie; here, he is an absolute treasure. Robert is not the most flattering character and, at times, a peril to his own family, but Jenkins blankets the role with conviction and heartbreaking belief. It’s a hoot. Gina Rodriguez lights up the screen making Evan Rachel Wood’s reaction to her all the more natural. Evan Rachel Wood is one of our finest actors, and her performance as Old Doolio is perhaps the best of her career. Disguising her voice in a low, flat tone and distorting her body to a lanky degree, she is a marvel to behold. Old Doolio is a victim of a lack of love within her family. A mini-heist forces them to behave outwardly, a glimpse inside the life she has always wanted but never truly realized. She begins to develop opinions of her own without outside influence after meeting Gina Rodriguez, and Evan Rachel Wood depicts this blossoming curiosity with grace. A scene when she dances uninhibitedly for what may be the first time in her life is a highlight, and Miranda July captures it in blissful, sun-kissed lighting. We don’t have the answers to life, but sometimes pancakes and dancing are the remedies we need and deserve.

Kajillionaire is so full of empathy and love that I just wanted to hug every character or pick their brain over coffee. It is so playfully directed, and you can tell everybody was given space to make creative choices.

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