If you’re anything like me, initially you resisted Jane the Virgin, but then secretly binge-watched it and promptly fell in love with Jane Gloriana Villanueva — played by none other than Gina Rodriguez. Well. Get ready to fall for her again. This time as Melanie — the radiant, anchoring force in the whimsical, and at times beautifully absurd, new film from Miranda July, Kajillionaire.
The film is being billed as a “quirky comedy,” about a family of conning grifters [Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, and Richard Jenkins], but I would call it more of a coming of age story about love, loss and connection. All themes that Miranda July has explored in her two previous feature films (Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future). But something about this one hits so differently. Right through the heart. In the best way possible.
I could go on forever elaborating on every little element of this film that I deeply appreciated and have been obsessing over since I first saw it, but the part that stands out to me the most was the relationship between Melanie and Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood)– and the transformation that Wood’s character goes through with the help of the charming, alluring, breath of fresh air that is Gina Rodriguez. The chemistry between these two characters was palpable and the connection/dynamic between them is one that I haven’t often seen in cinema.
July has spoken about how she wrote the role of Melanie with Rodriguez specifically in mind, and it’s immediately clear why from both the film and this interview. Perhaps I’m a bit biased — I guess you’ll have to watch them both and decide for yourself.
I’m confident that this will stand apart as one of the most witty, beautiful, and insightful films of 2020. You don’t want to miss this one.
Kajillionaire is now playing in select theaters and will be available to stream soon! Be sure to follow @kajillionairefilm to stay up to date on details.
Disclaimer: There’s a spoiler in this conversation that will likely have already hit the headlines of your other favorite media outlets by the time you read this.
Check out the official trailer here:
About the Author: A nerd by degree, lover of nostalgia and dandy fashion, and a romantic at heart, Jess Torres is passionate about the transformative power of attire, utilizing her wardrobe as a means of expression and creativity. Finding delight in the details of a well-executed outfit, whilst drawing inspiration from nostalgic film, art, and music, Jess created her own bow tie line, Atticus Atlas. Outside of haberdashery–Jess is a model, stylist, actor, singer-songwriter, filmmaker, event producer, and novice tap dancer. She is currently in the works of co-writing a Cabaret based on the “Sewing Circles” of the 1920s, which she hopes to produce and star in on a queer stage near you soon! Jess enjoys finding magic in the mundane, falling in love with life, and living slowly in one of the fastest cities in the world. Follow Jess on Instagram @thegirlinabowtie