Sam, Caroline, and I needed something different Friday night. We didn't feel more ambitious than TV viewing, but needed to see something we hadn't seen. So, I called up commonsensemedia.com and looked for something. Our search ended with Millions, a film we watched over two nights.
Verdict: One of the more thoughtful movies I've shared with my kids in a long time.
Here's the review from Common Sense Media. Roger Ebert's too.
I had to pause the movie three times to explain what was happening, because there are some moments that defy a nine-year-old's grasp of how the world works. Heck, the premise of the film is set against an imaginative robbery of money that was set to be destroyed by government. Oh, but that's not all, there's a race-against-the-clock plot line that features the impending conversion of British Pounds Sterling into Euros. Oh, and the sly humor involving the just-barely proficient police and the evangelistic Mormons required some explanation too.
It's a British film, which means they take some things as PG that might make Americans perk up and be uncomfortable: there's a scene involving the boys and a computer as well as the dad's decision to invite his girlfriend overnight that made me momentarily uncomfortable.
Without being preachy, the film give me a chance to talk ethics and faith my kids. It presumes an intelligent audience: the film is for kids to watch with their dad or mum, and hopes that dad or mum will clarify what is confusing. It allowed me to suspend disbelief at several moments. It gave me reason to make predictions about how it would turn out, then defied my prediction.
It might be the first film I've ever considered showing my 12th grade AP Macroeconomics students AND my nine-year-old son, with meaningful lessons for both. I'll admit that I pushed the boundaries a little bit with my seven-year-old daughter . . . but I'm glad I did.