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Millions

Movies | Two young brothers deal with the loss of their mother and an unexpected cash windfall

Issue: "Terri Schiavo: In memoriam," April 9, 2005

Talented British director Danny Boyle has made his best film to date with Millions, a story of two young brothers dealing with the loss of their mother and an unexpected cash windfall.

Millions (rated PG for thematic elements, language, some peril, and mild sensuality) is in many ways a great film-for adults. Despite its rating and the age of its protagonists, Millions is only suitable for older kids who are prepared to discuss the film with their parents afterwards due to some bad language, a scene involving scantily clad women on a website, an authentically scary bad guy, and general theological muddledness.

After Anthony (Lewis Owen McGibbon) and Damian (Alexander Nathan Etel) lose their mother, their father (James Nesbitt) moves them to a suburban Liverpudlian neighborhood. Anthony, 9, is practical and worldly, while Damian, 7, is a soft-hearted, contemplative child. Damian regularly converses with visiting "Saints," from St. Clare to St. Francis to St. Peter-all of whom appear in person, with glowing halos eerily circling their heads.

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These celestial counselors come in handy when a large duffel bag full of cash falls from a passing train and smashes into Damian's cardboard fort. How the boys-and others around them-respond to these new riches becomes the study of the film.

Anthony buys himself popularity and gadgets, soon becoming interested in real estate as a more practical investment. Damian struggles to find ways to give the money away, looking in vain for poor people in need of help. When a sinister stranger appears in search of the duffel, it doesn't take long to figure out that the neatly wrapped bills did not, as Damian believes, come from God.

Millions is a moving story, full of wonder and hope. It makes some affecting and useful comments on money and virtue, but at the same time utterly removes God from the equation. The religious symbolism in Millions functions purely as mythology, symbolic more of the goodness within Damian's heart than any good in the heavens above.

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