Making the Grades
Seven-year-old Damian (Alex Etel) believes in God--plain and simple. His extraordinary faith also results in personal visits from deceased patron Saints like Peter (Alun Armstrong), Frances (Enzo Cilenti) and a cigarette-smoking Clare of Assis (Kathryn Pogson). Yet his ability, to see things others can't, makes him a little wary when a large bag of money suddenly lands on top of his self-constructed playhouse.
Afraid it might be an apparition, Damian runs home to get his 9-year-old brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) to confirm his finding. After carefully counting the cash and hiding it under the bed, Damian knows the bills are real and is sworn to secrecy by his older sibling.
For Damian, the bundles of English pounds are like manna from heaven. Wanting to help the poor and destitute, he scours the streets for people in need. Anthony, on the other hand, suspects there might be a more earthly explanation for the luggage. But his self-indulgent plans keep him from searching for an answer or from telling his dad (James Nesbitt) about the loot.
Although the brothers have opposing views on how to dispose of the notes, they agree on the fact they have only a short time to spend them. Britain is just days away from converting to the European euro and the printed paper will soon be useless. With time ticking down, the two brothers do their best to use up their newly acquired riches. But when Damian makes a sizeable donation to a school project designed to help children in Africa, the charity's spokesperson (Daisy Donovan) and the school administration become leery and call for the police.
Told with the charm and innocence of a child, Millions looks at the effect large sums of legal tender can have on people, both the givers and receivers. Even adults aren't immune from the appeal of easy wealth and real ethical dilemmas arise when the source of the ill-begotten currency is discovered. Unfortunately, in this case, honesty takes a backseat.
Nevertheless, money isn't the only issue confronted in this film. The boys and their father are dealing with the untimely death of their mother and wife. It's an event that tests each of them in a different way. As well, Anthony is beginning to experiment with more grown-up topics. Perusing an on-line lingerie catalog, he introduces his younger brother to close-up shots of the female anatomy.
While the unexpected turmoil casts shadows of doubt over the little family, Damian's beliefs remain intact. As a result, he discovers that miracles are the result of conviction, not cold hard cash.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Millions.
Is it possible to do good things with illegally obtained money? Are Damian’s actions in the film justified by his innocence? How would you deal with a similar find?
Why did the brothers have such differing views on how to spend the cash? Given a large amount of money, which example would you most likely follow?