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Kajillionaire


Christian
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During a recent A&F monthly call, I mentioned my admiration of Miranda July. I had the DVD of her second feature, The Future, in hand that week, and I held it up during the call as an example of a filmmaker who ... well, I don't remember what the question on the table was at that moment during our Zoom discussion, but I know I ran to where we store our DVDs and brought my copy of The Future back to the laptop, where I displayed it for those on the call. 

As I explained then, I'm fan of July's, but my memory of her work, at that point, was a bit hazy. I'd seen Me, You and Everyone We Know, but it had been years. I think I'd just watched The Future ahead of the monthly call, and while the second half of that story went in some directions that disappointed me, I still stood in admiration of July's "voice" as a filmmaker and writer. (She's published a few books; I haven't read her novels but have read some of her short stories, particularly during the years when I was a New Yorker subscriber.)

After the call, I rewatched Me, You and Everyone We Know - the Criterion edition, which I'd not seen. The movie didn't hold up to my vague but positive memories of it, but a supplemental interview with July was informative. 

More recently, I had an opportunity to see July's latest film, Kajillionaire, at a local theater, but while it was one of the few 2020 films I had a keen interest in - especially after Richard Brody raved about the film - I shied away from seeing it theatrically because of the pandemic. Instead, last night I used a free Redbox rental to check out Kajillionaire at home. It was worth the wait.

I'd be very curious to hear from other A&F folks what they think of the film. It has some of that ... twee? ... July sensibility that distinguishes her earlier work (and which irritates others), but this story, about a daughter who participates in her parents' criminal schemes, struck me as much more profound and meaningful than July's earlier work. I'm not sure how others will react to the trajectory of the daughter (played by Evan Rachel Wood), but I found myself rooting rather desperately for her character and for her emotional growth. 

The film has something to say about parenting and how love between children and those who care for them is expressed (or not). Of particular note to this community: Richard Jenkins is in this, excellent as always. Oh, and not having paid attention to the credits, I spent the entire film thinking the woman playing the mother was Katherine Waterston, who looked ... older than I remembered her being? When the final credits rolled and I saw that the role was played by Debra Winger, well, that was a forehead-slapping moment.

Has anyone here seen Kajillionaire?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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