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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Millions is a film about what happens to a lonely boy when a bag of money falls from the sky. There's a little salty language ("bastard," "d--k"), and a child is threatened by a burglar. There's some smoking and drinking. Boys look at a lingerie website and examine what they can see of a model's nipple through her bra. Damian walks in on his father and new girlfriend asleep in the same bed. American kids may need help understanding the thick British accents. The movie doesn't take a rigid stand on the ethics of what to do when found money turns out to be stolen. But there are many positive messages about kindness, faith, selflessness, and doing the right thing, and Damian is a strong role model who wants to help the less fortunate.
What's the story?
In MILLIONS, British brothers Damian and Anthony have recently lost their mother and moved with their father to a new home to start over. Younger brother Damian (Alex Etel) has become obsessed with the lives of the saints, memorizing their stats like baseball cards and seeing and conversing with them in visions that he (and the audience) can't tell from reality. He constructs a hermitage for himself down by the railroad tracks out of leftover moving boxes. And one day a bag full of money falls out of the sky and crashes into the hermitage. Damian is sure it's from God and wants to use the money to help the poor. Anthony just wants to spend it as fast as he can. But there are two problems: England is converting to the euro in one week, after which the money will be worthless, and the money may have been sent by God, but it was delivered by a burglar -- who wants it back.
Is it any good?
Based on screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce's children's book of the same name (Millions), this is a rare movie that has equal appeal for kids and adults. Millions is not a kids' movie that has a few arch jokes to keep the adults happy but a genuine cross-generational gem. Children will appreciate the funny and suspenseful story and the respect Boyle and Boyce have both for their young characters and their audience. Adults will like the literate script, which doesn't pander or condescend, and the stylish and original direction.
Newcomer Etel's luminous performance anchors the film and provides its heart and soul. For ultimately, after you cut through all the intellectual and emotional layers, the brilliant cinematography, and the humor and excitement, this is the story of a lonely, loving child trying as hard as he can to be good, to do what's right, and to connect with the world of spirit, but in a way that is never less than believably childlike and real. It's not often a movie like this comes along for the family to share and talk about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Damian's dilemma in Millions. What would you do if you found a bag full of money?
Talk about the movie's messages. What do you think the moviemakers want us to take away from this film?
Whom would you help if you had the resources to spend? How would you decide who is worthy of the money when so many are in need?
- In theaters: March 11, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: November 1, 2005
- Cast: Alex Etel, James Nesbitt, Lewis McGibbon
- Director: Danny Boyle
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Integrity
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, language, some peril and mild sensuality
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