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Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center

A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

After the death of their mother, 9-year-old Anthony is ever practical, while his 7-year-old brother Damian uses imagination, fantasy, and faith to make sense of his confusing world. When a suitcase full of money falls out of the sky at Damian's feet, it sets the boys on the adventure of a lifetime and leads them to realize that true wealth has noting to do with money.

1hr 37min - Rated PG - Drama/Comedy

How often do you find cameo appearances by such saints as Francis and Claire, Nicholas, Peter, Joseph, and even the Ugandan martyrs, in a current movie? (Alas, no Dominicans!) The film is Millions, an independent British film that’s generating a lot of buzz. Millions is the story of two boys and their recently widowed father who move to a new home. After having to adjust to the loss of their mother, seven year old Damian and his nine year old brother Anthony also have to adjust to a new home and a new school. Damien has a vivid imagination, and a devotion to the saints. His encyclopedic knowledge of the saints is an embarrassment to his father, Ronnie, and Andrew. Frequently the saints appear to Damian, freely chatting about life and death.

One day Damian is sitting in a large moving box by the railroad tracks having a nice talk with St. Claire (patron saint of television, I learned!), when, out of nowhere, a Nike bag stuffed with money comes crashing down on him. Damian considers this a gift from heaven, and takes the money home. He and Andrew hide it from Ronnie (so we wouldn’t have to pay taxes on it, according to the ever practical Andrew), and then try to determine what to do with 250,000 pounds. St. Francis appears to tell Damian to give it to the poor. Damian learns that this is not as easy as it sounds. In a wonderful scene, he takes a group of “poor” people he meets to a restaurant to treat them to pizza! Andrew thinks it would be better to invest in real estate. Meanwhile, the boys learn about a robbery in a nearby city, and encounter a suspicious man searching for something near the tracks. They surmise that the money probably wasn’t from heaven after all.

Millions is the rare film that takes the viewer into a child’s world without being condescending or saccharine. Damian, Andrew and Ronnie are all trying to deal with their own grief, while moving on. Ronnie, who claims to believe in nothing, begins a relationship with Dorothy, a kind, understanding woman. Andrew resents her, and Damian turns to his saints for comfort. He asks each saint if they have met a new one, named Maureen (his Mother’s name). Claire answers sweetly that the name doesn’t ring a bell. When Damian is disappointed, she assures him not to worry: “It’s infinite you know. And everyone is welcome.” In a moving ending, the boys are able to come to resolution over their mother’s death. They realize they don’t have to worry about her. However, missing her “is permissible.” And that all that money “just gets in the way.” Damian solves the dilemma of the money in an ingenious way that will benefit others.

Director Danny Boyle walks the fine line between mysticism and reality. Millions is full of clever and humorous touches. For example, when Damian has to leave the Christmas play suddenly, St. Joseph subs for him, playing himself! The humor is balanced with the search for hope and faith in the midst of devastating personal loss. My only reservation is the depiction of the robber. He is far too overbearing, complete with a black stocking cap and heavy breathing that sounds like Darth Vader. This character seems to have wandered in from another movie.

Millions will appeal to the searcher in us all. It will reaffirm our belief that the communion of saints is ever-present, and particularly close to those who mourn.

Tom Condon, OP

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