"Of Greed and Giving"
What You Need To Know:
MILLIONS is an allegory illustrating the effects of money on people. A delightful movie, it raises insightful questions about the value of money and the important things in life. Because of some obvious flaws, such as St. Peter minimizing one of Christ’s miracles, the movie requires discernment, but the moral, Christian message, for those who seek it, is invaluable.
(CCC, BBB, CapCap, Ro, FR, L, V, S, N, D, MM) Strong Catholic Christian worldview with fantastic elements, extolling generosity and compassion for others and speaking against greed, marred by cohabitation, some theologically problematic elements, and a scene in which St. Peter minimizes one of Christ’s miracles; one profanity and two obscenities; very limited violence in a police chase against thieves, frightening scenes of thief stalking boy, and boy shaken by thief; cohabitation, kissing and boy finds widower father in bed with father’s girlfriend; boys find website selling female underwear and discuss breasts; Clare of Assisi smokes cigarette; and, bank robbery, lying to hide money, father defends his unbelief, boy has visions of dead saints, and various children and role models give into greed instead of acting with compassion.
Set in the northwest of England, MILLIONS begins with two young brothers moving to a new subdivision following their mother’s death. From the beginning, Anthony and Damien Cunningham (Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon) are as different as two brothers can be. Anthony, 9, has a mind for business and sees the family’s move as a step up the economic ladder. The movie’s star and narrator, Damien, 7, has a heart for God and finds with the move the ability to see famous saints everywhere who guide him in his decisions.
The adventure takes off for Damien while playing by train tracks in a cardboard playhouse. St. Clare of Assisi appears to him and comforts him in an offhanded way, but their conversation is abruptly ended when a bag of money crashes into the playhouse. Taking it as a sign from God, Damien wants to use the money to help people in need. Throughout the movie, he interacts with saints and non-saints to help him discern how he could use the money for good. St. Peter, St. Nicholas, The Martyrs of Uganda, St. Francis, and others show up for Damien at critical times to encourage him on in his endeavors.
However, from the beginning, Anthony is also aware of the money and has different plans for it. Ever calculating, Anthony’s ambition is to use the wealth to expand his influence at school and purchase everything on his wish list. At one point, 9-year-old Anthony humorously attempts to go into real estate. His desire is always to guard his own interests, which forces him at points to lie in order to defend himself and his funds. As part of his cover-up, Anthony insists that Damien not tell their father about the money, a situation that drives the action in the first half of the movie.
The story takes a more dramatic turn when the two boys realize that the money came from a bank robbery. They soon discover that a thief is on their heels to regain the stolen pounds. The problem is compounded when their father and his new love interest also discover the money. What enfolds is an allegory of sorts, illustrating the effects of money on people.
For an additional twist, the movie is fictionally set in the days before the British change-over from the pound to the euro, meaning that for the entire duration of the movie, the money is like a ticking bomb, soon to be rendered useless to anyone. Whatever designs each character has on the money must be performed quickly.
In all, MILLIONS is a delightful movie that raises insightful questions about the value of money and the important things in life. Because of some obvious flaws, such as St. Peter minimizing one of Christ’s miracles and Clare of Assisi smoking cigarettes, the movie requires discernment, but the moral, Christian message, for those who seek it, is invaluable.