No matter how the fall movie season ends up shaping out in these uncertain times (will audiences be back in theaters?), one thing that will remain consistent is Miranda July’s “Kajillionare” being one of the must-see indie films of the season. July’s first feature film since 2011’s “The Future” earned some of the best buzz out of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival thanks to the writer-director’s mastery of comic tone and her dynamite ensemble cast featuring Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, Richard Jenkins, and Gina Rodriguez.
The official synopsis for “Kajillionaire” from Focus Features reads: “Con-artists Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) have spent 26 years training their only daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), to swindle, scam, and steal at every opportunity. During a desperate, hastily conceived heist, they charm a stranger (Gina Rodriguez) into joining their next scam, only to have their entire world turned upside down.”
IndieWire chief critic Eric Kohn gave “Kajillionaire” a strong review out of Sundance, calling it “a minor-key sketch of a movie with soulful undercurrents that sneak into a cynical plot.” Kohn continued, “Elevated by an extraordinary Evan Rachel Wood performance that finds her character literally discovering her free will, “Kajillionaire” splits the difference between “Shoplifters” and “Parasite”: It’s an understated dramedy with bite, oscillating from the implication that family bonds are bullshit to the conclusion that everybody deserves a little tough love.”
“Kajillionaire” is one of Focus Features’ major fall titles and follows buzzy runs earlier this year for the studio’s indies “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and “Emma.” After its breakout Sundance world premiere, “Kajillionaire” was named an official selection of the canceled Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. The project is July’s fourth movie following “Joanie4Jackie,” “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” and “The Future.”
Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner produced the film through Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, the studio behind such awards darlings as “12 Years A Slave” and “Moonlight,” and “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.” Plan B co-produced “Kajillionaire” with Annapurna Pictures. Focus bought the distribution rights following Sundance.
Focus Features is opening “Kajillionaire” on September 18. Watch the official trailer in the video below.