Movie Review: Kajillionaire


Off-beat, quirky, emotional and heartfelt.

Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire” follows the journey of Old Dolio Dyne (named by her parents after a lottery winner in the hopes that they would receive the money) and her two con parents as they scam, cheat, and steal to survive their substandard life.

This is not a typical heist/crime movie as it uses these scenarios to explore its characters and the theme of human connection, specifically to our parents, rather than indulge in the typical heist tropes.

I wouldn’t go into this movie expecting it to be the next Ocean’s 11 or Mission Impossible. In spite of focusing on more subtle and less action-packed areas of a heist movie, the film still has a lot of value to extract.

The world that Miranda July crafts is quirky and fantastic, but is still rooted in realism. The movie feels lighthearted throughout, but also doesn’t stray away from heavier emotions. While it is marketed as a comedy, “Kajillionaire” excels in its drama.

The way color and contrast are used in each scene brings you into the world like few other films are able to do.

— Justin Ha

On a technical level, this movie is shot and directed beautifully. The way color and contrast are used in each scene brings you into the world like few other films are able to do. The score is atmospheric and sensual, but it never overpowers the scene.

The actors deliver unorthodox but powerful performances that fit nicely in this upside-down reality that the movie presents. Evan Wood, who plays Old Dolio, brings incredible depth and emotion to her role. Her performance pulls at the heartstrings in ways that are impossible to put into words.

 One of the strongest elements of this film is the pacing. Even though the film is under 2 hours, it uses every scene to serve a specific purpose. The fat has been trimmed and it results in a much more enjoyable product.

After watching this movie and looking at the general consensus, it is clear that the style and aesthetic of the film may be too pretentious and “quirky” for many people.

This problem of the movie trying so hard to not be normal can be attributed to the bold direction and script. I really enjoyed the writing in this movie, but I could see how others may find it overbearing.

Personally, I felt that the risks the film took paid off, but others may see the film as trying to be deeper than it really is. It definitely toes the line between experimental and different for the sake of being different. After reflecting on the film, I can recognize that certain portions were trying to be something that it wasn’t.

Miranda July is a very bold director and that can lead to the movie exchanging quality for style.    

Regardless, the last third of the film brings it together in a series of odd, emotional gut punches. The way the movie draws out empathy and emotion is so tactical and precise that it hits you suddenly in these small moments when you least expect it. It overwhelms your senses and leaves you feeling terrible in the best possible way.

“Kajillionaire” is a movie that refuses to let its daring and experimental tone be unnoticed, but may overdose the viewer on that tone in the process.