Friday, November 09, 2007

an interesting film: saints counsel a young boy on how to deal with found money

Just watched an interesting British movie entitled "Millions" (2005) available on Netflix:

Netflix description:

Acclaimed director Danny Boyle posits a tantalizing question in this engaging film: What happens when two boys stumble upon a cache of cash? Damian (Alex Etel) and his brother, Anthony (Lewis McGibbon), find a satchel filled with British pounds, but with the country just days away from switching to the Euro, they must quickly find a way to spend and share the wealth. Trouble is, Damian wants to give to the poor, while Anthony aims to live it up. Rated PG; 1 hr, 38 min., 2005

My remarks:
This is a decent film with an interesting premise: saints appear to a boy to give him advice in what to do with a moral problem (how to spend found money). The youngest son, Damian, who knows and loves the saints the same way many boys can spit out the stats off of the baseball cards of their favorite players (Damian identifies the saints who appears to them and states the years they lived or their patronage). St. Clare of Assisi, St. Francis, St. Joseph, and St. Nicholas all appear to Damian in some funny scenes (though it is odd to here St. Clare with a British accent, just as it is odd to see her casually smoking a cigarette--in heaven, would such run-of-the-mill vices be the mark of our joy, peace, and freedom?).
Actually, I think that the scenes with the saints could have been more developed--there is a lot of clever things they could have done.
Still, this is an interesting take on how money can seem at first like the answer to prayers only to cause greed, division, and further conflict. Damian's character finds the money (bound to be destroyed by the government as they make the switch to Euro) when a burglar throws the bag of British pounds off of a train. The money falls into Damian's play fort and he assumes that it came from God. Damian feels that his mission is to give the money to the poor--which, as he finds out, is not as easy to do as one would think. Damian's brother Anthony uses the money to buy expesive gifts and impress his school friends. Finally, the father finds the money and must conquer his own demons, and decide between greed or doing the right thing.
One caveat: St. Peter has a conversation with Damian about how much of an impact one person's well-intentioned actions can cause. He then recounted the story of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. He actually spewed out the tired old historical-critical interpretation: Jesus did not ACTUALLY multiply the loaves. Rather, he encouraged all those around him to shed their selfish hoarding and share the bread they had hidden under their cloaks. THAT, he pleads, was the REAL miracle. And I roll my eyes.
All in all, some good themes, and, if select highlight scenes are shown, could be good for classroom catechesis.
The movie is PG and is free from foul language (to my recollection), and excessive violence. There is one short scene where the boys see a coumputer add for bras that makes visible a woman's breast. Lastly, there is a scene where the widower father is in bed with a woman that he meets who befriends him and the boys (no visible nudity, just the implication of a pre-marital fornication).

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