Australian Council on Children and the Media

Millions

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Millions
  • a review of Millions completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 August 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to the themes and a number of scary scenes, this movie is not recommended for children under the age of eight.
Children aged 8-13 Some children between the ages of eight to thirteen could see this film with parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Most children over the age of thirteen could view this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Millions
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature scenes, Low level coarse language, Mild sexual references
Length 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Nine-year-old Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) and seven-year-old Damian (Alex Etel) have just moved house with their father (James Nesbitt) in an attempt to start again following the death of their mother. Practical, level-headed Anthony is determined to make the best of the situation and just get on with his life, while Damian, a dreamer, uses imagination, fantasy and escapism to deal with his difficult world.

Just days before the Euro is to take effect and the British Pound is to be rendered useless, a bag full of money falls from the sky and lands at Damian’s feet. Believing it is a sign or gift from God, Damian sets out to feed the hungry and help the poor. Anthony, on the other hand uses the money to try to buy everything from friends to property.
With time running out, lots of money left and a sinister looking robber right on their trail, the boys begin to realise that money isn’t everything and that sometimes it can be more trouble than it is worth.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There are a number of violent scenes in the film.

  • Damian frequently sees and speaks to saints. One of the saints has been beheaded and shows Damian a close-up of the scar.
  • There is a train robbery involving a large number of masked men with baseball bats who are beating people with the bats as they try to rob the train.
  • Later, the same robbers crash their escape van and flee into the surrounding crowd.
  • Damian’s house is broken into and trashed just before Christmas.
  • Anthony is grabbed by a robber and threatened.
  • Damian is nearly hit by a train while trying to set fire to the money on the tracks.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

From the middle of the film till the end, Damian is relentlessly stalked by a train robber who wants his money. The following elements of this pursuit could scare younger viewers:

  • the robber is always accompanied by creepy, foreboding music.
  • in many scenes, Damian is threatened, hunted and followed
  • the robber breaks into their home, hides in the roof above Damian’s room and when Damian gets into bed he threatens the terrified child
  • the robber shows up at Damian’s school, and corners him in a menacing way
  • while Damian he is shopping, the robber comes up behind him, puts a hand on his shoulder and forces the petrified child to go into the store where his mother used to work
  • the robber shows up again at Damian’s house, violently grabs Anthony and threatens him in the laundry room. The robber leaves and Anthony is left shaking and in tears.
  • Damian runs away into the night thinking the robber is following him, and runs to his old house. He sees a man’s hand coming through the mail slot as someone tries to get inside. Damian hides in the attic but soon hears footsteps coming up the stairs. When the lever to the attic stairs is pulled Damian begins to scream in terror. It turns out to be his father.

The other theme that could disturb some young children is the fact that the boys’ mother has just died:

  • The way that the boys, especially Anthony, use this to get goods, sympathy or to get out of trouble could be troubling to some young viewers.
  • At the end of the film Damian sees his mother one last time and then must say a final good-bye.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be concerned by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Many children between the ages eight to thirteen may also be concerned by the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

While some of the above mentioned scenes may temporarily worry older children, most will be old enough to realise that it is just a movie, will be able to take it in context and will be relieved by the outcome of the movie.

Product placement

The bag containing the money has a large Nike symbol on its side. While Nike is never mentioned, the bag is seen frequently throughout the film.

Sexual references

There is one sexual reference. A boy from school is seen in the hallway offering a girl increasing amounts of money for some sort of ‘favour’. He tells her not to worry because he “has a good body” and then takes off his shirt.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is one instance of sexual activity and a couple of instances of nudity:

  • Damian wakes up in the night and goes to his father’s room, where he finds his father and a woman from his school naked in bed together.
  • Anthony is on the internet looking at a picture that has a woman wearing a scanty bikini straddling a jet ski when Damian walks in. Damian makes a comment that she “looks nice” and Anthony says he’s seen better. He takes Damian to a lingerie site where he zooms in on a lady’s breast; close up the nipple can be seen protruding through the bra.

Use of substances

There are a few instances of substances use in the movie, including:

  • a saintly nun is seen sitting with Damian smoking a cigarette.
  • the boy’s father and a lady friend from school have pre-dinner drinks together
  • after a big spending spree, the father opens a bottle of champagne.

Coarse language

The film contains a small amount of mild course language, including:

  • bastard
  • Piss off!

In a nutshell

There are two main messages in the movie. Firstly, that sometimes money makes it harder to see what is really important and secondly that it is faith that makes you stronger. Parents may wish to discuss with older children that there are some things of value that money cannot buy.

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