Movie review: “Millions”

What an uplifting, fun, tender, compassionate movie – it left us beaming from ear to ear, feeling happy, cheerful and lighthearted!

Millions (2004) is a British film directed by Danny Boyle. The two central characters of the movie are two young boys, Damian and Anthony, who have recently lost their mother and who subsequently moved to the suburbs of Manchester with their father. Seven-year-old Damian (played adorably by Alex Etel) is a bit strange – he is completely obsessed with the lives of Catholic saints, knowing all their dates of birth and death off by heart, and even having visions and conversations with them. He uses the cardboard boxes left over from the move to construct a kind of hermitage at the side of a railway line. One day, a big bag of money flung out of a train crashes into the construction.

Damian shows the money to his slightly older brother Anthony (played by Lewis McGibbon), and the two discuss what to do with the money. While innocent and kind-hearted Damian, following the example of the saints, immediately wants to share everything with the poor and the destitute, Anthony is more practical and more mature, but also more selfish: he wants to invest the money in real estate so that it can generate an income, but he also wants to spend it on toys and things for himself – and he uses it to bribe some of the boys at their new school to become his entourage of bodyguards. Damian, meanwhile, buys birds from pet stores so that he can set them free, and he takes a large group of beggars to Pizza Hut so that they can have a good meal. The two are thus frequently at loggerheads about how each is spending the money.

The question looming in the background is: where does this bag of money come from?

The context of the story is the Bank of England’s change from the Pound Sterling to the Euro (this is purely fictional, because England has never converted to the Euro). At a school assembly, the children are informed about this impending currency conversion, and told that everyone will have to go to the bank to change their Pounds into Euros before a certain date. Realising that all their money will become worthless, Damian decides to give everything away to the poor before the date.

Of course, things aren’t quite as simple as that.

Go and watch it – it’s such a sweet little movie.

And, seeing that we happened to watch this on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, there was this delightful instant of synchronicity: A school teacher at the primary school asks his class, all kids sitting obediently straight-backed and crosslegged in front of him, who their heroes are. Damian starts to list a whole lot of his favourite saints.

The school teacher, however, holds up a huge picture of Mandela and says, “And this is my hero, does anyone know what his name is?” “Nelson Mandela”, answers one of the little kids.

Magic!

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Other movies we’ve watched in July:  

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