Millions of people play the lottery every day in hopes of winning tons of money. Jerry & Marge Go Large is based on the true story of a retired Michigan couple who discover a loophole in one of the lottery games and find their lives turned around. This delightful drama is based on a Huffington Post article by Jason Fagone.

Jerry Selbee (Bryan Cranston), who loved his job at the factory in his small town, does not enjoy retirement and soon grows restless. His lively wife Marge (Annette Bening), on the other hand, has eagerly looked forward to their having more time to spend together. She tells him: “I’ve waited 40 years for it just to be us and we kind of suck at it.”

Bryan Cranston as Jerry and Annette Bening as Marge buying lottery tickets from Rainn Wilson.

Jerry has a gift for math – he is always calculating one thing or another. One day he notices that the chances for winning go up dramatically in the “Winfall” lottery the more he bets. After a few tests, he realizes he’s discovered a flaw in the system that enables him to become a consistent winner. Soon he and Marge, who is excited to join him on this adventure, are traveling to Massachusetts to buy up large quantities of tickets and then go through them for winning combinations.

Once they realize they can consistently win, they decide to invite their friends and neighbors to add to the pool for purchasing tickets so they can also share in the winnings. Their accountant (Larry Wilmore) and the owner of the store where they buy the tickets (Rainn Wilson) are the first to join, but soon the whole town is part of a betting corporation. Jerry and Marge’s generous act soon leads to improvements all over town as people invest their earnings.

Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) draws out spunky performances from Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening, and the screenplay by Brad Copland makes the most of the transformation of this elderly couple through their spiritual practice of generosity.

Marge and Jerry sorting lottery tickets

Here are a few things to think and talk about after viewing Jerry & Marge Go Large:

Generosity is an act of moral beauty, one that has intrinsic rewards like the high we get from helping others and the caring connections we build.
─ The S & P Team in our topic on Generosity

Generosity is the classic expression of the accomplished spirit, when the self is open and unguarded and can freely share with others.
─ Lewis Richmond in Work as a Spiritual Practice

True sharing is a panacea, a genuine cure-all for the spiritual malaise that affects so much of humankind.
─ Michael Berg in The Way