Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Millions (film) and Millions (book); both written by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Last night I watched the film version of Millions; I had read and loved the book.

The Plot: A bag full of money lands at the feet of 7 year old Damian. What do you do when money falls out of the sky? Older brother Anthony, age 9, wants to invest it. Damian, convinced its a gift from God, wants to give it to the poor. And the people looking for the money have their own ideas.

The Catch: England is about to change to the Euro, so Anthony and Damian cannot hold onto the bag full of pound notes. It has to be spent, and soon. Damian wants to give it to the poor, if he can find any. Anthony has big ideas -- put it in a bank, buy investment property -- but his age means he cannot do that. The only option: spend, spend, spend.

The Good: Very funny. Very sweet. And, with the appearance of the saints, also contains a nice touch of magical realism.

Damian & Anthony's mother is dead, and the father is struggling to make ends meet, and, despite working long hours, does his best to be a good, loving, attentive father. It's nice to see that good parent/child relationship.

Damian is a bit obsessed with the saints; he reads about them, talks about them, has visits from them. He also asks if they know a Saint Maureen. This works well; Damian's fascination with saints is understandably a way of trying to connect to his mother. It also isn't that unusual; when I was about ten or twelve, I had a book of saints (cannot remember title or anything like that) and, like Damian, was particularly fascinated with those who were martyrs. One thing that works is that while some elements of this film are humorous, the film (and book) are always respectful.

Book v. movie: I find it intriguing that the same person wrote both. Even more so that Boyce knows that since these are 2 different ways of knowing a story, different things are required for the telling. In a way, its like having two different interpretations of the same story, rather than a book based on a film or a film based on a book.

A bit about the book that's not in the movie: I loved the mini-lesson in economics. Anthony and Damian start spending money at school, and the school yard economy is impacted.

My current favorite saint: Clare of Assisi, Patron Saint of Television

Interesting links: Boyce's Top Ten Saints; Boyce wins Carnegie Medal 2004; Saints and Angels at Catholic Online. Damian's favorite website, (this was in the book, not the movie) (and yes, this last site was created as a tie-in.)


christine M said...

I loved the book - now I need to get my hands on the movie - you've inspired me Liz

Kelly said...

I need to finish watching the movie, Liz! Oddly enough, my kids did not like the movie (though my daughter liked the book). I did, though, and want to read it!

Liz B said...

Christine, I hope you'll like it!

Kelly, the magical realism was much more "in your face" in the movie, so I think that can be a factor in the film vs book. And I have to admit that it took me a bit to get my "ear" for the accents. Part of the reason I really admire Boyce (in addition to his not being a "celeb author with a message," despite his screenwriting status), is that I think the book is actually stronger than the film! So the medium that isn't "his" is the one that worked better.