Reviewed by: Jonathan Wooten
A young boy dealing with the recent death of his mother
What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible
What is ETERNAL LIFE? Answer
What is ETERNAL DEATH? Answer
Who is a SAINT, according to the Bible? Answer
Who is Peter?
What is SIN? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer
About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
How good is good enough? Answer
Are you a good person? Answer
About Roman Catholicism
Personal testimonies of former devout Roman Catholics…
QUIZ—Catholicism and Protestantism.
Do you think like a Protestant or a Catholic?
Alex Etel … Damian
Lewis McGibbon … Anthony
James Nesbitt … Ronnie
Daisy Donovan … Dorothy
Christopher Fulford … The Man
Pearce Quigley … Community Policeman
Jane Hogarth … Mum
Alun Armstrong … St Peter
Enzo Cilenti … St Francis
Nasser Memarzia … St Joseph
Kathryn Pogson … St Clare
Harry Kirkham … St Nicholas
See all »
Pathé Pictures International [England]
UK Film Council [England]
BBC Films [England]
See all »
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Can anyone be truly good?
This is a story about a British family in transition after the mother’s recent death. Like a lot of kids, Damian (Alexander Etel) spends much of his time daydreaming. Unlike a lot of kids, he happens to be somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible and also has an unusual hobby. He has imaginary conversations with Catholic Saints. It becomes evident that this is his way of coping when we see him ask them if they have met his mother in Heaven.
The plot kicks into gear when Damian is greeted with a large bag of UK cash that literally falls from the sky. Damian calls it a gift from God and quickly establishes himself as the film’s moral compass. He resists the pleadings of his selfish big brother and decides that the money should be given to the needy. But there’s a catch. The UK is on the verge of switching to the Euro, so time is of the essence. The two boys embark on a series of humorous attempts to quickly disburse the funds.
There is a twist when Damian learns that the money is ill gotten booty from a train heist. He wants to return it, and his non-religious but honest father agrees. But when the family home is robbed on Christmas Eve, his bitter dad quickly changes heart.
Finally, the story climaxes and moral lessons are learned when a sinister foe returns to the scene of the crime.
Boyle is a gift director and his trademark eye-popping visuals are here in full force. He also skillfully straddles the line between sweet and saccharine.
The film is not without faults. Other movies have done a more focused job of showing that money will not necessarily bring happiness, including the dark, but superb “A Simple Plan”). Playing the father, the talented James Nesbitt (“Sunday Bloody Sunday”) is not given much screen time. We mostly have to assume what this widower is going through emotionally, and the romantic relationship formed in the film feels a bit contrived.
One can hardly blame the director though for centering the story around young Damian. At age nine Alexander Etel carries the film. Things could have ended up horribly corny with a lesser talent. Alexander avoids the pitfalls that plague most child actors by essentially not “acting.” He is the anti Haley Joel Osment—a kid who actually looks and talks like a kid. This is his dramatic debut.
People aware of Boyle’s extremely offensive R-rated movies—“Trainspotting” (graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and violence) and “28 Days Later” (a violent horror film with gore, nudity and foul language)—are probably curious to see what he did within the confines of a PG-rated movie, as he has not shied away from graphic material in the past.
LANGUAGE: Profanity consists of at least one use of “For Chr*st’s sakes” and “My G*d.” One of these is uttered by by St. Peter of all people. Vulgar language includes “P*ss off” and “B*stard,” plus the British slang “Bl**dy” and “Bl*mey” (a slang contraction of “[God] blind me.”
SEX/NUDITY: There is a glimpse of an unmarried couple in bed together, when Damian walks in on them apparently having sex or playing under the sheets. One is Damian’s father, and the other his new girlfriend. The father is bare-chested.
VIOLENCE: There is very little violence—a short robbery scene, and a brief moment of a child in peril).
“Millions” is loaded with religious and Bible-related content. It isn’t the first movie to visualize 1st Timothy 6:3 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”. “Millions” is unique though because it reveals Biblical truths overtly and with complete sincerity. It is refreshing to see a film where a character who speaks of God and the Bible becomes the hero and not a comedic punching bag.
The boy attends a Roman Catholic school where he is taught about Catholic Saints. The scenes involving the Saints are done with a touch of irreverence. The nun St. Clare is seen smoking what appears to be (but is not acknowledged as) a joint. A beheaded martyr jokes about his later execution.
While we never see the imaginative young Damian praying to them, it is important to read what the Bible says about this. Quite simply, it is wrong. Deuteronomy 18:10-12—“Let no one be found among you who… who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…” Those with a Catholic background might feel comforted by their perceived relationship with someone like St. Peter for example. But the fact that such a relationship is not even possible is just one of many things wrong with the concept. God wants us to have a relationship with Him and His Son Jesus.
We can admire the life of Peter and the example he set in leading others to Christ and furthering God’s kingdom. We can also definitely gain comfort in reading his letters and seeing how God aided him in his travels and trials. But if we elevate any person to a level where they come between us and God, that is idolatry and something Peter him self called pagan (1 Peter 4:3).
Damian’s father is an atheist, and tells him that nobody is in Heaven looking down on them… mom is dead, and we’ll never see her again.
“Millions” does have some positive spiritual moments. Damian references God several times. When he learns of the money’s origins and decides to return it, he explains frankly to his father and selfish brother that “God doesn’t rob banks!” Much of the film is set around Christmas (so much so that one wonders why it was released in March). But the season is used as more than just a sentimental backdrop. While rehearsing for the school Nativity play, an attentive Damian is not satisfied with his teacher’s rehashing of the tale and offers his own opinions about Joseph’s state of mind. This is one weird kid.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.