Looking for a movie that encourages us to be better people? That coaxes us to consider the needs of others, without being overly ponderous or dispiriting? That makes us feel like a kid again, while equipping us to be better grownups? And a movie that kids will love, on top of all that?

If such a film appeals to you, then treat yourself to Millions, 2005's most delightful surprise so far.

Alex Etel, in a charming performance, plays 8-year-old Damian, the younger of two brothers who stumble onto an unexpected fortune. Damian, obsessed with the lives of the saints, sees this as his opportunity to do something saintly—he wants to give the money to the poor. But his selfish brother Anthony wants to use the money to become the cool kid on campus. Meanwhile, a shadowy character is lurking about, trying to get the loot back. With Christmas just around the corner, Damian will learn the hard way that doing the right thing can be more complicated than it seems.

The Unexpected Fortune has been the premise of quite a few comedies—most of them awful. But Millions comes from the hyperactive imagination of genre-leaping director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later), and it's wise, meaningful, laugh-out-loud funny, and relentlessly inventive. It's not just a satisfying family film—it's an exhilarating film. You'll leave the theater with a ridiculous grin.

My full review of this delightful film is at Christianity Today Movies, where you will also find my interview with the director.

Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) raves, "Millions is a rare and special family film: a moral parable rather than a morality tale; a film that combines high ideals and hard realities; a story of hope and faith in something more than Santa Claus. ...

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