I rented this one solely because I am a fan of director Danny Boyle. I first saw Trainspotting, which while I can't say I liked, was very affecting and had some moments I still love. Shallow Grave was terrifying and creepy and has haunted me ever since, but in a good way. A Life Less Ordinary is one of the few comedies I really really love, and Sunshine is a great sci-fi thriller that I had to buy on DVD after my first viewing of the film. I wasn't sure what to expect from Millions, as Boyle's work is so frequently dark, and it concerns one of his favorite themes: what happens when people unexpectedly have a ton of money drop into their lap. I was very curious to see which direction he'd take that premise in this movie, and I was not disappointed.
Millions is a really charming and sweet movie... sort of the exact opposite of Shallow Grave, and really was quite lovely. In this one, a satchel of cash thrown from a train lands on a young boy's, Damian (played wonderfully by Alex Etel) cardboard playhouse. He spends his days talking with the various Saints he reads about, and he thinks the money has come from Heaven for him to do good with. However, this movie takes place just days before pounds are going to be converted to Euros, so the money must be spent or converted immediately or it will be worthless. Damian shares the find with his older brother, Anthony, who has distinctly different ideas on what they should do with the fortune. The movie follows their adventures, as Damian gives it away to the poor and needy, and Anthony secures himself a position at their new school and starts buying things. I love when Anthony wants to invest in property and meets with a real estate agent.
Of course, the money is stolen money, and the thief comes looking for his satchel, but while there is some mild suspense and danger, the film never crossed over into the darker places it could have gone. It stays light and I was never too worried for the kids. This stayed a serious, but ultimately happy movie, and I really liked that. I smiled a lot during this movie. The scene with Damian on the train tracks at the end is very touching. It's filmed in part with a fantasy-like quality that really just keeps the whole film clearly in Damian's point of view (he's the narrator). At the same time, it's got so much heart and tenderness, and I just loved the whole thing. I love Damian's scenes with the Saints, I love him trying to locate more people in need he could give money to. I love the kid's dad, played by James Nesbitt, who's trying to raise his kids the best he can after the death of their mother.
This may be one that I have to buy on DVD, I loved it that much.