Kajillionaire  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Kajillionaire is a 2020 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Miranda July. The film stars Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins as members of a close-knit petty crime family whose relationship becomes frayed when a stranger played by Gina Rodriguez joins their schemes.

Kajillionaire had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020 and was released in theaters on September 25, 2020, followed by video on demand on October 16, 2020 by Focus Features in the United States and by Universal Pictures internationally.

Plot

A 26-year-old woman, known as Old Dolio Dyne, is in a manipulative relationship with her con artist parents, who treat her as an accomplice to their petty thefts and scams rather than as a daughter. The entire family pride themselves on being skimmers and living on the bare minimum income, unlike other people who worship money and try to be kajillionaires.

After a particularly bad run of luck, the family owe several months of back rent on their $500-per-month apartment, which is actually an office space attached to a soap factory. Unable to come up with money, Old Dolio concocts a scam where they will travel to New York City, using tickets they won in a contest, and her parents will take her luggage, allowing Old Dolio to claim the airline has lost it. Old Dolio will then purchase travel insurance which will be enough to cover their rent.

After an uneventful trip, Old Dolio and her parents return home. She is surprised to find them chatting with Melanie, a pretty young woman in the seat next to them, and even more surprised when they reveal their scam to Melanie and have her pretend to be their daughter as they pick up the luggage.

Melanie proves to be surprisingly amenable to their way of life and reveals she is a physician assistant in ophthalmology at Cedars-Sinai. She introduces the family to her elderly clients, whom they rip off for small sums of cash. This goes awry when a dying man asks the family to pretend to be his family as he passes away. Old Dolio is shaken by the experience, and is hurt when her parents immediately rush to comfort Melanie while ignoring Old Dolio herself.

Back at home, realizing that Melanie has outlived her usefulness as a partner in their schemes, Old Dolio's parents decide to initiate a threesome with Melanie which she reacts badly to. They are interrupted by Old Dolio, who is heartbroken to hear her mother call Melanie "hon" and offers Melanie the entire travel insurance money to do the same to her. Old Dolio's mother refuses, but Melanie accepts Old Dolio's offer and takes her to her apartment.

Rather than simply call Old Dolio "hon", Melanie offers a "full-service" treatment fulfilling emotional requirements which Old Dolio's parents failed to meet. A few days later, Old Dolio's parents turn up to Melanie's apartment telling Old Dolio they love and miss her and presenting her with 17 birthday presents, promising the 18th one at dinner the following night. Old Dolio and Melanie attend dinner where Old Dolio's parents gift her a necklace and swear they will change. They return to Melanie's apartment and tuck Old Dolio into bed. Melanie, who has hidden the insurance money in her fuse box, tells Old Dolio that if her parents have stolen the money they are monsters, while Old Dolio says if the money is still there, it is proof her parents have changed. She also comes up with a third possibility; that her parents will have left behind $525, her third of the cash, signifying that this is the only way they are capable of loving her. To Melanie and Old Dolio's surprise, the cash is completely there.

The following morning, Melanie and Old Dolio awaken to find that Melanie has been completely robbed, with the entire furnishings of the apartment gone. The only thing left are Old Dolio's 17 presents. Realizing they are refundable, Old Dolio and Melanie take them to be returned. The total price of the items is $485.05, until Melanie realizes they forgot to return Old Dolio's necklace, bringing the total to $525, Old Dolio's share of the insurance money. Old Dolio and Melanie kiss as the film ends in the store.

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Kajillionaire" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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