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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 30.26%
Average: 5.26%
Pretty Bad: 1.32%
Total Crap: 2.63%

8 reviews, 28 user ratings

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by Tom Ciorciari

"A belated Christmas present for the entire family"
5 stars

In Danny Boyle's new film, "Millions", a young boy's wide-eyed faith is put to the test when the ultimate what-if occurs and a bag filled with money literally falls into his lap.

Damian (newcomer Alexander Etel) is a boy with a problem. Specifically he talks to saints. Not through prayer, mind you, but via actual interactive conversation. And though he accepts their encounters with nary a blink of the eye he nonetheless keeps them from his older brother Antony (Lewis McGibbon) and dad, Ronnie (James Nesbitt), as they all come to terms with the recent loss of their mum/wife. A loner whereas the other kids in school can rattle off the stats of their favorite footballers, Damian likewise knows those of Saint Francis, et al Damian constructs a fabulously elaborate playhouse from the discarded appliance boxes strewn about their new neighborhood, along the train tracks, the blast of the passing trains shaking the cardboard with a rollercoaster ferocity. Enter into Damian's reverie a duffel bag literally bursting with pound notes, dropped from the sky and demolishing his hideout. With only two weeks to spend the money before England converts to the Euro and the pound is worthless, Damian hopes to follow the examples set forth by the saints and perform acts of random altruism. As a matter of course his brother becomes aware of the loot and has his own ideas of how it should be spent, as does the money's previous owner, one of the gang of bankrobbers who'd pinched it in the first place.

Usually performances by children are a highly suspect bunch. The template has been in place since the days of Shirley Temple wise beyond their years and cloyingly cute (a state of being that has only been further sitcom-ized over the years Home Alone anyone?) and deviations from that path are equally suspect as dozens of retakes and judicious editing can create a whole character out of mere snippets (see: The Piano). But in Millions Alexander Etel brings an honesty and innocence that is so out of place in current especially American film that it feels as if his performance were almost something that had been spied on rather than intended. Following closely behind is Lewis McGibbon as the older, more jaded Antony. Together these young actors create fully realized performances that never not once veer into the maudlin, the treacly sweet, or the precocious. Not to be given short shrift are James Nesbitt as their quietly adjusting dad (in a nice touch we see that he sleeps with two pillows approximating the form of his departed wife) and dad's new friend Dorothy (Daisy Donovan, who suggest a young Emma Thompson).

Yet... the real stars of Millions are screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (24 Hour Party People) and director Boyle (28 Days Later, Trainspotting). Houses erect themselves piece-by-piece in a matter of seconds, saints wear shiny golden-hued halos straight out of Michaelangelo, a cardboard box becomes a rocketship blasting off into the heavens it's hard to remember a film that so perfectly remembers what it actually felt like not only be, but to truly imagine like, a child, and then present it so vividly.

In an age filled with CGI animated farting ogres and macho-action-types-vs.-oh-so-clever-moppets "Millions" is as sincere a breath of fresh air and fancy as "E.T" felt 20-odd years ago, with none of the calculation. And in an age where we watch what we consume that really is an accomplishment.

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originally posted: 05/02/05 02:46:04
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival. For more in the 2005 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/06/19 Suzanne Alex Etel is astounding; this movie always makes me cry. 5 stars
8/24/08 AnnieG Excellent! Enjoyable film for all ages. Makes a nice Christmas gift. 4 stars
5/30/07 Bob crap 1 stars
4/16/07 fools♫gold Very interesting; reaches the heights of the same director's Shallow Grave. 5 stars
2/02/07 billium good film were studying it in RE att school because of its religius morals ect.. 4 stars
4/03/06 robbo kept kids quiet 4 stars
1/08/06 Quigley had some very moving scenes and the kid was amazing, but it was a little confusing 4 stars
12/07/05 Phil M. Aficionado A truly silly little concoction. Can't bring myself to give the kids one star, but..... 2 stars
9/17/05 Green Gremlin A nice change from Hollywood schmaltz !!! 5 stars
8/26/05 EZ Blow up this movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
7/18/05 Captain Craig A feel good movie that really works! Wonderful entertainment. Hollywood take note! 5 stars
7/16/05 what the this guy is an idot, UK is certainly NOT moving to the Euro for a good few years yet! 3 stars
6/21/05 Agent Sands Not only one of the best films of the year, but one of the best family films of all time! 5 stars
6/19/05 Sean Lane Nice seeing yet another Danny Boyle movie. This one is better than the last. A lot. 5 stars
6/09/05 b landers Good movie. 4 stars
6/05/05 jcjs wow 5 stars
5/17/05 Neon Good movie worth viewing 4 stars
5/02/05 Teri CUTE 5 stars
4/07/05 Elizabeth S Charming! Alex Etel is wonderful! 4 stars
3/31/05 Nick Boyd A touching movie with two wonderful lead performances 4 stars
3/25/05 malcontent Believe it or notm Boyles seems in his element here 4 stars
3/03/05 Jason Smith A fun, vibrantly filmed movie with much less sentimentality than expected. 4 stars
2/28/05 Barry Appleby Only Eire switched to the Euro not the UK 3 stars
10/19/04 Colette The film was ok 3 stars
9/20/04 denny very different from any thing done earlier by boyle; not sure who will be the audience 3 stars
9/20/04 christine heath an amazing film, with two charming new stars 5 stars
9/15/04 MM Weird and wonderful 5 stars
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  11-Mar-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 01-Nov-2005



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