Naturally, Jesus’ devout disciple does not explain why this pertinent little fact managed to be overlooked by all the disciples and the Gospel writers, much less why 5,000 hungry people just happened to be begging the disciples for food even though they all had food in their pockets.  It also ignores the fact that there were 5,000 witnesses to that particular miracle – none of whom ever came forward to debunk the claim (despite ample time and opportunity), that one small basket of bread and fish miraculously fed them all.

Clearly, Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce, the film’s screenwriters, believe that not only the disciples but also the authors of the Gospel narratives – and perhaps Jesus, for that matter – were either stupid or deceitful, if not both.  Of course, these old-hat accusations have been around for 2,000 years and have yet to be proven – unlike the miracle of the loaves and the fish, which was validated not only by everyone present but also by several church councils, leading to its eventual inclusion in the New Testament canon.  Therefore, the film’s theological detour is sheer blasphemy – and this doesn’t count the scene where the boys' father tells them that their mother is not only dead but that no one will ever see her again.  During a recent question-and-answer session with Boyle after the press screening, however, the director stated that he believed there was “nothing in this film that would offend Christians.”

Attention all nuns: it’s now acceptable for you to smoke pot in front of schoolchildren.  Meanwhile, we’ll all wait with bated breath for the next installment of the Gospel According to Danny Boyle.

Does the film’s message, however compelling, override the fact that it arrogantly sets itself up as an authority over Scripture and slanders those who have long been recognized as models of the Christian faith?  With no small amount of hesitation, I would say that it does.  As Christians, we are called to be in the world but not of it, and “Millions” provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the faith with unbelieving friends and relatives.  Because of its strong biblical message about money and accepting financial responsibility for those in need, it is also a mostly-appropriate family film – on the mandatory condition that parents take the time to not only view the film with their children, but also debunk the lies that it dispenses about the faith.

AUDIENCE: Adults and mature/older children – with parental accompaniment

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT:

  • Alcohol:  Father has wine in one scene and drinks champagne with girlfriend in another scene, on New Year’s Eve; girlfriend later appears drunk; a saint smokes marijuana in front of a child.
  • Language:  At least two profanities (“for Christ’s sake” and “My God”) and various British obscenities including “bloody,” “bastard” and “piss off.”
  • Nudity and Sexuality:  Children appear to reveal themselves to other children for money in schoolyard (but nothing visible); television commercial, which repeats itself throughout film, in which young woman wears low-cut Santa Claus outfit and snuggles/kisses an elderly gentleman; boy views Web site with women in bras, then zooms in and talks about her nipple; younger boy asks what it is, to which older boy replies “They’re for feeding babies;” younger brother discovers father and a woman the father has recently met in bed together, late at night (but nothing visible).
  • Violence:  Young boy shakes the bloody hand of a saint, who also has a large scar on neck and says that he was beheaded; stranger, later revealed to be a thief, appears threatening and speaks to boys; thief lurks around schoolyard and school auditorium during Christmas pageant; child returns to empty home to escape pursuit of a fearsome thief, followed by a scary scene in which he believes stranger is searching for him and hides in attic; thief appears behind boy in store and threatens him.