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Film / Kajillionaire

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"Life is nothing. Just let it go without really thinking about it."
Old Dolio

Kajillionaire is a 2020 indie crime-dramedy written and directed by Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know). It stars Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio, a 26-year-old woman who lives with her parents and knows nothing but the art of swindling. On an airline refund scam to secure enough money for their long overdue rent, the family encounters a talkative young woman who might be the key to a series of thefts with high economic reward.

The film also stars Debra Winger, Richard Jenkins, and Gina Rodriguez. It premiered at Sundance before seeing a wide release through Focus Features later in the year.

Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: While not physically abusive, Old Dolio's parents have raised her less as a daughter and more as a tool. A majority of the movie revolves around Dolio discovering humanity through her relationship with Melanie and breaking away from the cold-hearted nature of her parents.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Dolio's mother refers to Melanie as "hon," which gets under Dolio's skin. Once she receives the full airline refund, she offers her mother the entire check to call her "hon." She can't.
  • All for Nothing: Not that it bothers them any more than any other failed scheme, but Old Dolio's parents named her after a homeless person who won the lottery in an attempt to be included in his will. It didn't work, but the name stuck.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Dolio has come of age with a hardcore utilitarian mindset. Therefore, she doesn't really seem to pick up on social cues.
  • Arc Number: 525. Split three ways, this is what the airline refund amounts to for each of the three family members. After Dolio's parents rob Melanie, leaving nothing but Dolio's birthday presents, they exchange them at the store and find the refund comes out to be exactly $525. Dolio takes this as the closest thing to "I love you" her parents are capable of providing.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Old Dolio's arc comes to a close when she and Melanie share an affectionate embrace at the movie's conclusion.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Dolio's mother can not refer to her daughter with any affectionate language whatsoever, refusing to call her "hon" for $1,575.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: As mentioned below, Dolio dances with comedic conviction, even incorporating some of her stealth moves from earlier into her routine.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: The parents seem to have a curious desire not to have their daughter turn out successful but to be petty thugs
  • Dancing with Myself: Melanie asks Dolio to dance in front of her, which results in a Dancing Is Serious Business showcase, as Dolio has really never pursued any activity with the intention of having fun.
  • Easily Forgiven: Melanie gets pissed when Dolio tries pushing her away, claiming she was just going to rob Melanie's apartment. She gets over it just a few minutes later; justified, in that she knows Dolio has been raised to be a crook and is trying to get better (it also helps that Dolio literally crawls on hands and knees for forgiveness).
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: At about 90 minutes in there's a large earthquake and Old Dolio assumes that she and Melanie have died. The screen, which was black from the darkness of the gas station bathroom begins to fill with stars as they talk, presumably heading to credits...until they hear someone driving into the gas station.
  • Friends Are Chosen, Family Aren't: Dolio eventually forms a much more real bond with Melanie than she'd ever achieved with her parents.
  • Hates Being Touched: Inverted. Old Dolio has been so deprived of affection in her life that she gets overwhelmed with emotion when anyone touches her (first shown when she tries getting a massage and keeps yelping when the massage therapist comes in contact). Whenever Melanie touches her, the chemistry between them is electrifying.
  • Left the Background Music On: Played for Drama (or played for very, very dark comedy, depending on your interpretation), as the music in one scene is revealed to be hold music Dolio listens to over a phone line since she has no other means of hearing music.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Old Dolio is hardened from a life of scamming on the streets, while Melanie is a much more straightforward college girl. The two are making out by the movie's end.
  • Mistaken for Dying: After the earthquake where Old Dolio and Melanie are in the gas station bathroom, there's an extended sequence where Old Dolio assumes they're dead, until they hear someone driving into the gas station.
  • Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: Zig-Zagged. Old Dolio's parents have never celebrated her birthday. When it looks like they've finally stopped getting through to her, they bombard her with eighteen birthday presents to make up for lost time. Of course, Dolio is 26, so it still doesn't quite make it all up.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: MASSIVELY averted. When Dolio's parents try to initiate a hot tub party with Melanie, she gets enraged (not helping that the parents are elderly, she prefers women, and the hot tub isn't even plugged in) and storms out, taking Old Dolio with her.
  • Title Drop: Dolio's father drops it facetiously at one point.
  • Unfortunate Names: Old Dolio's parents named her after a homeless person who won the lottery. Their goal was to be included in his will when he died to inherit big money. It failed.
  • Villain Protagonist: In this case, it's plural, though Dolio's main goal is to grow up and not necessarily do petty larceny.