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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 Scott Weinberg

"Another wondrous change-of-pace from the uniquely reliable Danny Boyle."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2004 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL: This one's a warm-hearted, good-natured, colorfully-wrought, and altogether lovable little Christmas-themed Britcom...and it comes from the director of the phenomenally nasty zombie flick "28 Days Later"! Say what you like about filmmaker Danny Boyle, but you certainly can't accuse the guy of playing the same notes over and over.

Never one to be pinned down to a specific genre, Mr. Boyle (along with fantastic screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (24 Hour Party People, Code 46)) has concocted Millions, a sincerely touching and joyously vibrant confection, a movie that will have you chuckling frequently and wearing a cockeyed smile for 90-some minutes. It's sweet without being sappy, it's funny without being schticky, and it offers a visual palette as impressive as you'd expect from the director of Trainspotting and Shallow Grave.

Damian and Alex are a pair of bright-eyed young brothers, and as Millions gets underway the boys and their widower papa are moving into a brand-new house in a swanky new housing development. Still wounded over the loss of their mother, the brothers seem to be adjusting to their new residence. Little Damian takes off with several large appliance boxes, and builds himself a nifty little fort near the railroad tracks. It's there that the sweet-natured little boy imagines conversations with a host of patron saints, each of whom offer the kid a few helpful lessons on how to behave. Concerned for the soul of his dearly-departed mother, Damian asks each of his imaginary pals if they're familiar with "Saint Maureen" - although he doesn't get the sort of answers he's looking for.

During one solitary session in his cardboard hermitage, the roof comes crashing in on Damian...literally. The source of the problem is an overstuffed and rather heavy bag of cash. Damian immediately tells his older brother of the discovery, and the pair promptly come up with several good uses for the quarter-million pounds they've been blessed with. But the UK is just one week away from a total currency conversion; in seven days their money will be all but worthless.

Being normal young lads, Damian and Anthony get starry-eyed about all the cool toys they can now purchase, and being sincerely generous lads, they also take care to donate big portions of their prize to the less fortunate folks in the neighborhood. (A sequence in which the young brothers invite a crew of homeless people to a dinner at Pizza Hut is a true highlight.)

But in order for there to be a story, we need some real conflict. So it comes as no surprise when a creepy criminal arrives on the scene, searching for his big cache of cash. With the conversion from pounds to Euros only a few days away, the villain wants his money in a hurry.

It's a fairly simple and straightforward little tale, but Boyle brings such a vivid energy and heartfelt attitude to the narrative - Millions is a very difficult movie to dislike. The two young lead actors are pitch-perfect, while James Nesbitt plays their quietly melancholy dad with a master's touch. There's not a trace of artifice or manipulation to be found here, and in a story that involves recently dead mommies and wide-eyed moppets - that's a pretty impressive feat.

Boyle has such an uncanny knack for visual storytelling; if I could pick any one filmmaker to helm a silent movie, Boyle would be the guy. Simple sequences of a boy climbing up a hill are delivered in such lovely fashion that you'll find an involuntary and bemused grin upon your face. Boyce's screenplay is equally warm and funny, though not in that "Awww, shucks" fashion that you'd normally find in movies with two cute kids as the lead characters. And it's all wrapped up with an oddly satisfying series of sequences...Millions will have you leaving the theater in a very good mood.

One of the very best films to play at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival, "Millions" is yet another unexpected treat from one of our most consistently eclectic filmmakers.

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originally posted: 09/15/04 01:58:53
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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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