Kajillionaire

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Kajillionaire Movie Poster Image
Quirky grifter comedy is short on laughs; strong language.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Centers on a family working together, but their goals aren't exactly positive -- or legal. And family support is inconsistent at best.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although main characters are all serial thieves and have serious issues with communication and intimacy, there's representation in the form of LGBTQ+ and Latinx characters.

Violence

Arguments, emotional cruelty.

Sex

Overture is made for a threesome. Kissing. Crude sexual language. Nonsexual nudity includes a bare breast during breastfeeding. A character undresses down to his underwear. One character dresses in snug, somewhat revealing clothes. 

Language

Coarse language in context of a sexual situation: "d--k," "t-tty," "f--k." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kajillionaire is a comedy from writer-director Miranda July that's more quirky than laugh-out-loud funny. It centers on a socially awkward 26-year-old (Evan Rachel Wood) who embarks on a journey of self-discovery after realizing that she's lacking -- and craving -- a loving, nurturing relationship with her parents, who've always treated her like a business partner in their constant thefts and scams. "F--k" is whispered a couple of times, but most of the movie's strong language and sexual content is confined to one scene in which a woman confronts an underwear-clad man who wants to have sex with her. She uses explicit language ("titty-f--k"), but nothing else happens. In entirely different circumstances, two characters share a romantic attraction and kiss. Adults drink socially, and there's some personal tension/arguing, but no actual violence. Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins, and Debra Winger co-star.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byrosaitalianna September 27, 2020

Convoluted even for adults to follow

We took our 18 year-old to see this. Both she, my husband, and I had a lot of difficulty in understanding the characters' motivations and/or behaviors.... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byLortia October 14, 2020

Horrendous

We made the mistake of taking our 13 year old and I have never felt so uncomfortable watching a film, how this is a 12A rating I will never know! We did talk... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byXmialx October 10, 2020

Boring and slow

Don’t even bother watching it. It’s so slow and boring. Waste of money. It’s inappropriate for children so don’t bring you kid unless they are 14+
Teen, 13 years old Written byGreekMamba September 27, 2020

Please don’t bring a child under 15

This movie was a little inappropriate for children. I was left slightly unsettled leaving the theatre. Please think before carefully before letting a child unde... Continue reading

What's the story?

In KAJILLIONAIRE, a family of swindlers is in the middle of a con when they meet a young, vivacious stranger (Gina Rodriguez) who's intrigued by their way of life. When Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert Dyne (Richard Jenkins) welcome Melanie into their fold, treating her like one of their own, their adult daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), starts questioning her place. 

Is it any good?

Miranda July's film about a family of grifters comes off like a mid-season SNL sketch that doesn't make you laugh and goes on too long. Which is too bad, considering that eccentric characters who put themselves in ridiculous situations are the stuff that many great comedies are made of. Wood misses the mark with her portrayal of Old Dolio, whom her parents named after an unhoused lottery winner in hopes that he'd include them in his will (he doesn't). Her parents, who choose to "skim" through life, are amiable but not cuddly: They've treated their daughter like a business partner since birth. All of their thought energy goes into acquiring money to get by, including living in the office space next to a car wash where they pay reduced rent in exchange for whisking away the suds that bubble over the wall daily. Old Dolio seems irritated by her parents but is completely in their control. Her stiff mannerisms and unnaturally low voice are intended to convey her social awkwardness, but it's misleading. Does she have anxiety? No. Does she have autism spectrum disorder? Hmmm, no. Does she have attachment disorder? Nope. It's just how Wood chooses to play her, and while Wood is typically a thoughtful actress, this character might as well have been constructed by Pauly Shore.

On the other hand, Old Dolio's parents are more familiar. Robert is a paranoid organizer with just enough charm to pull people in. And Theresa's every move, including an unexplained limp, speaks of the difficult life she's lived. This couple has survived by blending in: There's nothing about them that's magnetic, and therefore it's utterly baffling why Melanie, a bright light of happy energy, would be interested in hanging out with them. Even more mysterious is what she sees in Old Dolio. Other details are equally left in the dust. Annapurna Productions is known for presenting films that offer sympathetic looks at women who aren't usually offered sympathy (scamming strippers in Hustlers, the women of Fox News in Bombshell, and the persnickety valedictorian in Booksmart), and Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment is known for making award-winning films -- but not this time. If there is any statue potential here, it's for Winger's memorable performance as the jaded Theresa: In very few words and with a mostly emotionless face, Winger relays a deep cynicism that swims under the surface like a shark. We never see her teeth, but we know she can cause pain.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why people are drawn to conspiracy theories. How does the family's belief in conspiracy theories affect their life? 

  • How is Kajillionaire a coming-of-age film? How does it compare to others in the genre?

  • What kind of consequences would these characters face in real life for their actions?

  • What do you think motivates Melanie to engage with the Dynes? Do you think she feels compassion for Old Dolio, or are her actions a result of her attraction?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love quirky characters

Themes & Topics

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