Film Review of King of California: A Daughter Capable of Supporting Herself, a Father Newly Released from a Mental Institution, and a Treasure for the Taking in Southern California
Fathers can be incredible worriers about the quality of family life. They like to know that their children and spouses will be provided for. Those concerns tend to be assuaged by insurance policies, paid-up mortgages, and savings accounts. But an unusual father will think of unusual ways to safeguard his family, such as in the movie “King of California”.
King of California is a comedy-drama of emotional arcs, humorous situations, poignant characters, and realized dreams.
Family dynamics are fragile. Children assimilate parenting just by observing their parents. It is no wonder that an under-aged teenager assumes the parental role in King of California, written by Mike Cahill; produced by Randall Emmett, George Furla, Avi Lerner, Michael London, Vance Owen, Alexander Payne, and John Thompson; and directed by Mike Cahill. Cinematography, editing, and music were respectively by Jim Whitaker, Glenn Garland, and David Robbins.
The film lasts 90+ minutes. It was distributed by Millennium Films. It was released on September 11, 2007 to the Toronto International Film Festival and to the U.S. public on September 14, 2007.
The movie begins with Charlie’s (played by Michael Douglas) release from a mental institution. Charlie is released to his sixteen-year-old daughter, Miranda (played by Evan Rachel Wood). Institutionalization clearly leaves Charlie’s emotional and mental shrapnel intact.
Miranda behaves older than her years. She alone cares for the family home since her mother lives a life elsewhere. Miranda selects employment at McDonald’s over getting educated.
Charlie’s appearance disrupts Miranda’s life. Charlie does not drive. But he has places to go and things to do.
Charlie believes that seventeenth-century Spanish Explorer/Father Juan Florismarte Torres left buried treasure in Southern California’s Santa Clarita Valley. It is important for Charlie to realize his treasure-hunting dreams. He thereby proves that he is not really a reality-challenged embarrassment. The treasure also provides a more comfortable present and future for Miranda. But in an ominous note of foreshadowing, Charlie shares nothing about his own plans.
Miranda ends up working at the local Costco. The reason is Charlie’s influence. Charlie finally pinpoints the treasure’s location as under Costco.
There are funny scenes with Charlie sneaking into Costco to drill through the floor to the ground and river below. Miranda cooperates by standing guard and working late. Charlie finally dons scuba diving gear. He hides the treasure in a dishwasher which Miranda buys.
The movie ends with wealthy Miranda on her own again. Charlie does not return from diving after the body of the long-dead explorer and the last gold coins. Miranda sees people from Asia swimming to shore along Southern California’s coasts, something which Charlie said was happening.
King of California is a film which offers comedy and drama in one sitting to viewers seeking alternating episodes of hilarious adventures and serious undertakings within the context of bittersweet endings, coastal lifestyles, and offbeat characters.
Copyright: Friday, July 6, 2012 by Derdriu.