Don’t Forget Your Tissues When You Catch ‘How To Make Millions Before Grandma Dies’ In Cinemas

With this sobfest of a film, you’ll come for the actors but stay for the acting
A scene from How To Make Millions Before Grandma Dies.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself much of a crier. I do get emotional, yes, but one would hardly find me tearing up because of a proposal video or sobbing my eyes out at the cinema. That is until I watched a new film the last weekend. Starring Putthipong Assaratanakul (aka Billkin) and Tu Tontawan, the Thai film How To Make Millions Before Grandma Dies (HTMM), written and directed by Pat Boonnitipat, caught me completely by surprise with an emotional slow-burn.

For those unfamiliar with HTMM, the story follows our leading man M, played by Billkin, as a university dropout who has dreams of one day making it rich as a gaming streamer. His life hasn’t turned out the way he dreamed; he lives at home with his single mother, he can’t make a decent living as an online game caster and he’s even borrowed money from his maternal grandmother Amah to make ends meet. 

When we are first introduced to Amah, one of the first things we learn is that her lifelong goal is to be buried on a big plot when she passes on. But there’s a slight hitch—each large burial plot costs millions to purchase. At this point, neither her family nor the audience understands the significance of Amah’s slightly morbid dream. But we soldier on with the story.

When M’s paternal grandfather passes away, nearly his entire estate is left to his primary caretaker and M’s cousin, Mui, as portrayed by Tu Tontawan. Seeing how Mui essentially struck gold overnight, M plots to carry out the same plan: to move in and care for his terminally ill maternal grandmother till she dies, so that he can inherit her estate (and therefore, make millions).

Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s talk about the actual film. But be warned, spoilers ahead!

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that HTMM strikes a chord with so many people—countless Tiktoks show audience members quietly weeping in the cinema throughout the movie—is its portrayal of major universal themes of family, love and the fragility of life.

As M and Amah kick off their time together in Amah’s old, shabby house, M learns that currying Amah’s favour is no mean feat. She’s demanding, unfiltered and exacting. But their relationship only blooms with time. M’s understanding of Amah, which was once superficial and fleeting, blossoms into genuine love and care. Beyond the unlikely duo’s current dynamics, the film flashes back to memories from M’s childhood. For M, these memories are hard to recall, after all, he was just a child when his grandmother took care of him. For the viewers, however, who see these memories as clearly as Amah does, each shared experience feels personal and painful, knowing that Amah’s days are numbered.

These feelings of sadness and gloom escalate when you zoom out and see M’s extended family. Amah’s children, except for M’s mother, are all too busy with their own lives to deal with their elderly mother’s ailments. In one scene, one of Amah’s children even steals cash from her home, to settle part of his gambling debts. When the scenes of Amah seemingly being neglected by her children began, it was admittedly the start of my endless stream of tears.

Looking past the tearjerkers, the highlight of HTMM was undoubtedly the acting. Billkin’s more-than-convincing portrayal of a coldhearted grandson who just wanted to milk his elderly grandmother for cash had me momentarily hating M. Of course, we can’t forget Amah, who is played by Usha Seamkhum. Throughout the film, the first-time actress steals the show, with her sassy—almost feisty, might we add—personality and her seemingly effortless portrayal as a woman who’s come out stronger, after having been through life.

Her initial tough attitude towards M fades away not long after he moves in. In its place, we see an endearing old Amah who shows you—not tells you—that she cares. So it’s understandable that when Amah eventually passes away, it’s tears all around. In the loss of Amah’s life, M learns that he just struck it rich, just as he had hoped to be. The audience and M collectively learn that Amah spent her whole life saving and setting aside cash for her beloved grandson.

Putthipong Assaratanaku aka Billkin and Usha Seamkhum. Photo: Instagram / @GDH559

A good story needs a good ending. And HTMM had just that. With his newfound riches, M spends it all on one thing. Rather than use the cash to fund his streaming career, M buys Amah her forever home: the large burial plot she had always wanted.

Overall, HTMM was definitely worth the watch. You’ll come for the actors, but you’ll stay for the acting. Whether the film simply brings on the waterworks or forces you to confront your existing relationships with the ones you hold dear, I know you’ll be leaving the cinema ruminating about the fleeting nature of life.

Catch the trailer for How To Make Millions Before Grandma Dies below:


Tasha Low Takes The Lead In The Little Nyonya Spinoff, Emerald Hill

Everything To Know About PP Krit: Thai Boys Love Actor And Rising Star

Sorn Talks New Track ‘Crazy Stupid Lovers’ And Collaborating With Childhood Friend Hongseok