Coming from writer/director Miranda July and Focus Features comes the extraordinary story of one woman’s journey to being a KAJILLIONAIRE.
Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) lives with her mother Theresa (Debra Winger) and father Robert (Richard Jenkins) in a storefront building. During the day they spend their time finding ways to earn a few dollars and food while avoiding their landlord Stovik (Mark Ivanir). From a quick trip to New York to shady dealings, they have managed to carve a life out for themselves.
But Old Dolio is a little different staying a bit withdrawn, does not trust anyone and not too many helpful social skills. One day they meet Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) who seems to understand the family. Robert and Theresa take to Melanie quickly and enjoy her company, especially when she comes up with a plan to be a part of another – well, hustle.
At first Old Dolio is not thrilled with having Melanie around but slowly she becomes curious about the girl. She finally blows up at her parents letting them know she is tired of not being recognized with such things as birthdays etc. Going to Melanie’s house, Old Dolio is introduced to what goes on in the real world and is delighted.
Giving her parents one more chance to make her feel as if she is important to them, both Old Dolio and Melanie believe everyone deserves a second chance, or third chance…or fourth chance.
Wood as Old Dolio is delightful, unknowingly funny, sweet, and yet full of curiosity and even righteous anger. Hiding behind her clothes and hair, Old Dolio cannot hide the fact that she is also quite intelligent in the world of hustling. Watching this character bloom is endearing, charming and you want to scoop her up and show her the world. That is how invested you can become following her journey. Well done Ms. Wood.
Rodriguez as Melanie is a hustler in her own way but not as much of an expert as her new friends. She has a conscience and also sees something in Old Dolio that melts her heart and brings out a protective feeling that Old Dolio has never known. Rodriguez is sweet, smart and gives her character a little soul.
Jenkins as Robert lives in his own little world that really does not include his wife and daughter. It is almost as if he sees them more as employees than family. Jenkins has the most amazing way of portraying his characters with a sense of innocence in the midst of being a huge hustler. Winger as Theresa lets her husband do as he will and throws in her opinion here and there. Once confronted by Old Dolio, Winger’s reaction is one I did not expect and yet I did which adds to the mixture of feelings about what it takes to be a hustling mom.
Shout out to Ivanir as Stovik cracks me up. He is constantly there to try and get the rent from his tenants, but it is his moments of emotion that come out of no where that are confusing and filled with bubbles (you will see!). It is hard to run a business and be a landlord but Stovik adds a little something more.
Other cast include Patricia Belcher as Althea, Diana Riva as Farida, Da’Vine Randolph as Jenny and Rachel Redleaf as Kelli.
Focus Features’ mission is to make a lasting impact on global audiences by creating the home for artists to share diverse, distinctive stories that inspire human connection. Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies that brings entertainment and news to a global audience. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.focusfeatures.com.
KAJILLIONAIRE is a film about the open dysfunction of this particular family but added in that is hustle – both physical and emotional. These characters bounce off one another and they are so unsure of it all that it is easy to see how they are taken in by their own mess.
What this film does bring is the journey of Old Dolio, a young girl that is basically living in a bubble to seeing her discover what it is to trust someone and discovering that her presence in the universe has value – without the hustle. The relationship between Old Dolio and Melanie bring so much hope and delight so its essential to congratulate Wood and Rodriguez for their amazing work.
This film is filled with creativity, originality and everything in between. Writer/director July has brought a film that I will be hollering for people to see for quite a while. Well done Ms. July, well done.
In the end – know your worth!