Release Date: September 15th, 2006 by THINKfilm.
The Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Dame Maggie Smith, Patrick Swayze, Tamsin Egerton, Toby Parkes, Liz Smith, Emilia Fox, James Booth.
Directed by Niall Johnson.
BASIC PREMISE: Walter Goodfellow (Atkinson) and his wife, Gloria (Thomas), hire Grace (Smith), a housekeeper with a dark past.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Keeping Mum has few surprises, but plenty of laughs thanks to a well-written script and Dame Maggie Smith as Grace. In the opening scene, Grace gets arrested after she brings trunk onto a train with blood dripping from it. 43 years later, she gets out of prison and ends up working as a housekeeper for the Goodfellow family in the town of Little Wallop—population: 57. Each member of the family has a particular conflict. Walter, a vicar, struggles to come up with an entertaining sermon for his congregation. Gloria, his wife, suffers from a sexless marriage, so she turns to her golf instructor (Swayze) for more than just golf lessons. Her teenage daughter, Holly (Egerton), has too much sex and brings home different boyfriends every day. Just watching Grace’s reaction to meeting one of her boyfriends will leave you in stitches. Petey (Parkes), Holly’s younger brother, must deal with school bullies. Collectively, the entire family suffers from the neighbor’s dog that barks all night. What makes Keeping Mum so much fun is the way that Grace solves all of the Goodfellows’ problems in a wickedly humorous way. Rowan Atkinson has a few funny scenes the vicar. It’s funny alone just to hear “Mr.Bean” talk. Kristen Scott Thomas gives a convincing performance as Gloria. Patrick Swayze is the weakest link—it’s difficult to even tell what Gloria sees in him. The deliciously witty script by Niall Johnson and Richard Russo a surprising twist in the third act, but the real triumph here is in the terrific casting of Dame Maggie Smith who makes you forget about all of the plot-holes. Smith knows how to shift from seeming innocent and charming to plain bad. No other actress could have pulled off such a hilarious performance which makes this film a wickedly entertaining crowd-pleaser.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Other than the clichéd yet important message about the value of family, none is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Hilarious. A wickedly entertaining crowd-pleaser.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "K" Menu