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A pastor preoccupied with writing the perfect sermon fails to realize that his wife is having an affair & his kids are up to no good. Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 05/20/2008 Starring: Rowan Atkinson Maggie Smith Run time: 104 minutes Rating: R
- Very Funny Very British
I have been waiting for another British comedy to come out all year. KEEPING MUM fits that bill. It is funny, I mean very funny. The cast is outstanding. Rowan Atkinson and Maggie Smith are hilarious but the whole cast really delivers some of their best work in this film. The location photography is beautiful. The English countryside really sets the stage for this nice little film where the characters all come together and their personalities, strengths and weaknesses lead them to realizations about the true aspirations of their lives.
- "My husband totally lost his head over another woman..."
This is a delicious twist on Mary Poppins with Maggie Smith playing the
"trunk killer"...that is she was sent to an institution because she was traveling with a trunk that carried the cut up remains of her philandering husband and his mistress.
Now she's back and doing housework for a minister's family in a small English town. Her approach to problems is to eliminate them...literally.
How can you suspect such a charming, smiling, old lady?
As for the minister, our Maggie Smith has some suggestions...lighten up your sermons with religious jokes and spice up your personal life with a little sex. I loved the "reading" of the Song of Solomon in the movie...one of the best readings of King James selections that was moving and erotic.
This is good fun and a must for Maggie Smith fans....more info
- Delightful Endearing British Comedy
This movie was quite a surprise. I managed to find a theater that was actually showing it several months back. I was certainly not disappointed and in fact was quite surprised how good this little film was. It is a black comedy in the best sense as only the British can concoct. What makes it stand apart from the ordinary is its witty screenplay by Richard Russo and Niall Johnson, Gavin Finney's beautiful cinematography and very good performances from Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas and an unlikely Patrick Swayze. This film is a wonderful and curious melding of the dark side of human emotions with expressions of true and meaningful love and the potential we all have to love and be loved but find so difficult to express or accept. The beautiful and colorful photography is unusually exquisite and quite moving giving one moments of exhilaration and reflection on what beautiful wonders the world beholds for those that can grasp it and become one with it. Maggie Smith's Mary Poppins-like character is the answer to Rowan Atkinson's uninspired but well intentioned local vicar who cannot really clearly express his theological virtues or the love and passion he has for his wife Kristin Scott Thomas. Maggie Smith takes things into her own hands and helps his family who has more issues than can be imagined. And there it is.
- Little know but funny
I happened upon this movie on tv. I always look for out of the way movies
that sound good to me. This was hilarious. The cast is great. And the storyline is a bit strange but I found this movie to be so engaging. That was why I ordered it on DVD. Maggie Smith has a way of dealing with disagreeable people....she kills them. What a magic housekeeper. HA HA!...more info
- AND GOD SAID: "I'm mysterious, folks . . .
. . . Live with it!" and with those words the English village rector cracked forever his shell of shyness. He was egged on by the nanny character, Grace, played by Maggie Smith (unbeknownst to him, his mother-in-law). And don't we all need a cheerful maniacal killer to straighten out the everyday dilemmas of life?
"Keeping Mum" is more than a play on words. It is an old-fashioned farce, a 'romp' . . . or black comedy: your choice. A parsonage family is tying itself in knots when Maggie Smith arrives & brings order to the bullied son, the sex-crazed daughter, tongue-tied preacher and his straying wife. Patrick Swayze, who looks somewhat 'over the hill' following his lively dancing career (in "Dirty Dancing") plays a peeping Tom-golf instructor, and Grace manages to stick it to him, also.
Maggie Smith is Reviewer mcHAIKU's reason for watching (perhaps in this instance carrying loyalty to an extreme). On the other hand we know that even Maggie Smith (Order of the British Empire) must pay her bills, and the husband of THIS household raised the laugh meter to more than four stars. So the prescription for the day is: Join us in laughing heart-ily....more info
- Mary Poppins meets Arsenic and Old Lace
"Keeping Mum" is a dark British comedy that enchanted us last night. Justice seems to have eluded the wrong doers -- in fact there are suggestions that genetics will work its magic in the future. It reminded us of the classic Hitchcock episode "Lamb to the Slaughter" where the murderess serves a leg of lamb to the police who can't find the murder weapon.
Maggie Smith plays Grace Hawkins, an aging Mary Poppins, who arrives in Little Wallop, population 57, and is soon setting things right, as it were, with direct action. She has plenty to work with at her adopted family.
Rowan Atkinson plays Walter Goodfellow, a stuffy, pious vicar. Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas) is frustrated and negotiating with Lance (Patrick Swayze) to run away with him to Australia. Holly (Tamsin Egerton) is on the verge of running wild, and Petey (Toby Parkes) is the target of school bullies.
A noisy dog disappears, three bicycles collapse, the vicar smolders after being taught the true meaning of the "Song of Solomon" -- one of the best and most erotic renderings of that Book I've seen, Gloria is entranced and reciprocates, sermons improve with jokes downloaded from the Internet, Grace dumps the over-acted Lance, and Holly bonds with Grace and her mother.
An enormous trunk is the key clue that ties events together. It appears in the beginning of the film leaking blood in a baggage compartment of a train. 40 years later the same trunk arrives in Little Wallop containing Grace's belongings.
There are amusing touches throughout this dark fairy tale. We both thoroughly enjoyed watching this problem solving psychopath in action.
Robert C. Ross 2008...more info
- Disappointing: A 30-minute Sit -Com Padded Out Into A Feature Film
We were expecting a comedy, and kept waiting for this film to be FUNNY, but it was only barely so. It took almost the first whole hour just to set up the story's predictable comedic end, and felt like a 30-min sit-com padded out into a feature film to accommodate a big-name cast. Maybe it's too subtle for my wife and my tastes -- but we found it disappointing, not that funny, nor touching. Maybe some will find it enjoyable for its love-story theme and recognizable actors/actresses.
If you want more enjoyable comedies on similar themes (murderous elder women), try "Arsenic and Old Lace" (a classic) and John Water's "Serial Mom" (campy, over-the-top).
- Excellent Comedy
A very witty and clever bit of screen writing. Very well acted by Maggie Smith and Rowan Atkinson and indeed all the cast. Very much the British sense of humour but I think it will please all with a rather unexpected ending when we thought that "The cat was about to be let out of the bag" as we say in English....more info
- "Keeping Mum"
My husband saw this movie on television while recovering from knee surgery. The next time it came on he told me I should watch it. I am so glad I did. One funny situation after another. The cast fit so well together. I couldn't believe Patrick Swayze was in this type of movie. He was great! We ended up buying the DVD because there are many twists and turns. We wanted to make sure we didn't miss anything. A mystery? A comedy? A love story? A perfect blend. Just like the cast. ...more info
- Amazing Grace
The Goodfellow family needs more than just a housekeeper. They need a miracle.
What they got was Grace.
When Grace (Maggie Smith) arrives, she finds Gloria (Scott Thomas) somewhere between an affair and going crazy. Golf Pro Lance (Swayze) is encouraging her to swing more than a club. Clarence, the little dog next door has been yelling nonstop for days and the deaf old man who owns him, can't hear and doesn't seem to care. Walter (Atkinson) her vicar husband, has forgotten there's romance in the "Bible" and he's so lost in his tending his congregation, he's even lost his sense of humor. Teenaged Polly (Egerton) is experimenting with sex--and not for the first time. Peter (Parkes) is getting beaten up by the school bullies.
Grace quickly sets to work setting things to rights. On the surface, she's quite an endearing old lady who soothes with a cup of tea and a magic word, but her methods run far deeper than that--just don't look in the nearby pond!
If you love British comedy, particularly the darker varieties thereof, you're going to enjoy "Keeping Mum." There's more than one surprise twist. Of particular interest is a golf lesson between Lance and Gloria just filled with double entendre. ...more info
- The Wonderful Maggie Smith Swaps Her Broomstick For A Shovel
Although she's had a long and wonderful career, I'm guessing that most Americans will recognize Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagal from the "Harry Potter" films. A few may recall her time in films like "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and the "Sister Act" films. Heck, if you go back as far as I do, you might remember her from "Clash of the Titans." It's no matter, because she is simply hilarious and twisted in "Keeping Mum," where she plays a loving housekeeper with a very effective and final way of cleaning things up. The film begins with a little bit of background on Smith's character and then hurtles forty-three years into modern times where we get to meet the Goodfellow family. The head of the family is Reverend Walter Goodfellow (Rowan Atkinson), a well-meaning but ultimately dull and clueless vicar of the local church in Little Wallop. His wife, Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas), is in search of a little more "action" in her life. His daughter, Holly (Tamsin Egerton), is something of a slut and his son, Petey (Toby Parkes) is constantly harassed at school by bullies.
When Grace Hawkins (Smith) strolls into Little Wallop to take a job as the Goodfellow's housekeeper, things begin to oddly change for the better. The vicar is suddenly inspired to write a funny keynote address for an upcoming conference. Holly turns off the oven in the bedroom and discovers the joys of baking. Petey becomes unafraid of his cruel schoolmates. The only person still somewhat unaffected by the arrival of Grace is Gloria, although she does begin to sleep through the night with more ease due to some devious acts.
Gloria is still seeking out that "something" that's missing from her relationship with her husband. She thinks she finds it blossoming in a secret relationship with her American golf instructor, Lance. Lance is played to sleazy perfection by Patrick Swayze. As Grace becomes more involved with Gloria's predicament, things get devilishly fun. From lewd phone calls to video cameras, Grace has her hands full trying to save the Goodfellows' marriage.
Atkinson is perhaps most familiar to U.S. audiences as the bungling "Mr. Bean" or the devious "Black Adder." Both were often featured on PBS and "Mr. Bean" was turned into a mildly successful theatrical release in America. Atkinson was also the voice of "Zazoo" in "The Lion King," as well as having bit roles in a number of other American comedies. Thomas has been in a few films here in the U.S., but they escape my memory right now. Swayze, of course, is Swayze. If you grew up in the U.S. during the 80's or even 90's, you know who he is. All of the cast do a wonderful job.
There is a bit of strong language, especially from the mouth of Thomas. There's also a tad bit of toplessness from Holly and some sexuality (though no nudity) involving Thomas and Swayze and even Thomas and Atkinson (Mr. Bean scores!). There's also a few moments where a sweet old lady whacks a few people, so the "R" rating is necessary. Don't let your kids watch this film. Other than that, this is a great dark comedy for folks of the suggested viewing age.
Although you'll often shake your head and declare that you shouldn't laugh, it's just too hard not to as Smith carries out her quiet, lethal plans to clean up the mess that is the Goodfellow family. She has good reason to as well, but even though it's pretty obvious from the start of the film, I won't reveal why. Her nanny-like precision of making sure things turn out right make for a hilarious film, and I really recommend that fans of Smith, Atkinson, or anyone else in the flick should check this movie out.
Highly recommended....more info
- So wrong, but oh so funny.
This isn't really the type of movie we would normally pick up while browsing at the video store. My husband caught bits and pieces of this movie last week while on a business trip, so we decided to rent it to see the whole thing. It is definitely a dark comedy worth seeing. Some other reviews did a great job of describing it. It's like Mary Poppins kicked up a notch (a naughty notch, but a notch none the less).
Normally, I find British comedy to be a bit on the on the slow side, but this movie seemed to flow okay. I enjoyed all the actors and actresses (I'm even interested in seeing a "Mr Bean" film now). I was surprised to see Patrick Swayze, though, since he is American. It's funny, in "Dirty Dancing" he was a dance gigalo; in this move he's a golf gigolo.
Yes, while watching, you will often shake your head and say "this is so wrong", BUT you will do it while laughing.
- A gentle comedy with a hint of the sinister
I absolutely adored this rather understated and very engaging British film. Everything was just so fun considering it's about a sweet little elderly lady who applies a slightly twisted sense of morality to help a family with domestic problems. The family is a bit of a mess. Kristin Scott Thomas is the backbone of the story. She's frustrated with her life, her daughter is a bit of wayward teenager, her son is being bullied and her husband played by Rowan Atkinson is a little boring and a little self-absorbed. In comes Maggie Smith who plays Grace Hawkins a grandmotherly type who exudes understanding and warmth with her own special brand of helpfulness. But then again, the way she deals with life's problems is questionable although effective - "You can't just kill people because you disapprove of them" to which Grace replies, "That's what my doctors kept saying. It was the one thing we could never agree on."
Everything from the dream cast to the clever writing to the charming music sets an overall tone of gentleness with a hint of the sinister. I particularly enjoyed the music and the locations. The music is soft and tender but at times, it also has an edge - exactly like the story. The film is beautifully shot with locations in Cornwall and the Isle of Man. I really liked the village - its normal and sweet setting is a perfect backdrop to Grace's not normal but still sweet mentality.
Black comedy is a tricky genre of film and the British do it well. If it's handled with too heavy a hand it can teeter between the uncomfortable and the painful. Here, the director, writers and actors handled it with just enough of a touch that this film is brilliantly endearing and you just can't help laughing at something you really shouldn't be laughing at.
- What if Mary Poppins were a serial killer???...........
This is the question raised by the film KEEPING MUM. Amazingly, this is a wonderful, sweet, romantic and funny film. We are treated to Rowan Atkinson in a surprising and sensitive lead performance. He is so much more than Edmund Blackadder, Inspector Raymond Fowler or Mr. Bean here. As much as we may love those other characters, his performance here can make us forget they ever existed. He plays the Reverend Walter Goodbody who is a tad on the dull, passionless side. That is until the arrival of the mysterious and charming Grace who is the families' new housekeeper. Grace hunkers down and works to repair this family who's lost it's way.
Richard Russo and Niall Johnson have crafted a completely captivating script. It's fascinating that a film with so many murders can be so gentle. Maggie Smith is a pure delight as Grace, a woman who has an interesting past, could there be a connection here?
This film is a pure delight and should be seen and talked about ...more info
- keeping mum
What a delight - wonderful entertainment with Maggie Smith at her best - Rowan Atkinson brilliant as the absent minded pastor - Patrick Swayze perfect cad - Kristen Scott Thomas an equal match to all - good hearted black comedy and a brilliant final scene. ...more info
- Hush, Hush Sweet Mum!
KEEPING MUM is a little British pastiche of a film based on a story by Richard Russo and adapted for the screen by Niall Johnson who also directs. It is one of those little 'comedies' Sir Alec Guinness made endearing, comedy touched with the morbid, but allowing the completed meal to be wholly palatable.
Opening with a note '43 years earlier' we see a charming and attractive young pregnant woman (Emilia Fox) boarding a train somewhere in England, her only odd characteristic is her large trunk which is seeping blood: the trunk contains the bodies of the girl's husband and mistress and she is carted off to detention.
Jump to the present (or 43 years later) and in a little English village the Vicar, Reverend Walter Goodfellow (Rowan Atkinson) tends to his flock and is frustrated with writing a speech for a convention, paying more attention to his clerical duties than to his frustrated wife Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas), his philandering daughter Holly (the beautiful Tamsin Egerton) and his bullied son Petey (Toby Parkes). Holly is having an affair with her lothario golf pro Lance (Patrick Swayze) and in general the family is disheveled - until they hire Grace Hawkins (the inimitable Maggie Smith) who takes up residence with them, her only possession being her 'trunk'.
Grace has her own manner of taking care of distasteful issues: she simply eliminates them and throws them in a pond growing algae. She gradually breaks the news that Holly, an orphan as a child, is the progeny of Grace's pregnancy when she was imprisoned and proceeds to correct the various messes the Goodfellow family has been facing: she peppers the Vicar's sermons with jokes, increasing his congregation and dispenses with the vicar's headache parishioner Mrs. Parker (Liz Smith); she renews the marital fidelity to Gloria and the Vicar, disposing of Lance; she handles the school problems of Petey and the boy problems of Holly. Her trunk ends up being a Pandora's Box for the village and the family!
With a thoroughly delightful cast of pros, settings that are picture perfect, a script that always retains humor even in the most odd circumstances, and a musical score that underlines the flavor of the tale, KEEPING MUM is a delight to watch. Deep it is not, but it is a warmly funny though strange little movie that is a crowd pleaser. Grady Harp, February 07
- Maggie Smith is my favorite
Dame Maggie Smith is the best actress of our century, proven so many times over the decades, this little movie is sweet, funny and shows how versitile this grand lady is in her acting :-) She's the best!!! Thank you, Dame Maggie Smith!!...more info
- Keeping Mum
Quality movie with great thought put into the production. Equally enjoyable to watch with the commentary "on"...more info
- Best Homicidal Old Lady Movie Ever!
This is probably the most touching film about homicidal old ladies I have ever seen. Grace (Maggie Smith) is not your ordinary homicidal grandmother - she has a heart of gold. When she comes into the life of the Reverend of Little Wallop (Rowan Atkinson) she immediately takes a proprietorial interest in his family's wellbeing. Before long Grace is proactively sorting out a lot of family problems - the son's bullies, the daughter's awful boyfriends, the Reverend's lack of confidence and his wife's marital woes. At the same time, a number of people and animals that get in the way of Grace's plans start disappearing. She is so charmingly innocent and so completely well-intentioned that it is hard to hold her methods against her. In fact, I spent most of the film cheering for her. Grace is a very rare character indeed (the closest approximate I can think of is Angela from "Sleepaway Camp II & III" - possibly a younger variation of the same creature) and we need more like her.
The film is undoubtedly aided by an excellent cast. The central character, the reverend's frustrated wife Gloria, is played by the very convincing (not to mention attractive) Kristin Scott Thomas who effectively carries most of the film. Maggie Smith is adorable as the innocently-menacing Grace. Patrick Swayze is perfect as the hunky lothario/sleazoid pursuing both Gloria and her daughter. Jeez, he aged well, and I think he was perfect for this part (which is sort of a compliment). Given first billing despite performing in what was essentially a supporting role,is Rowan Atkinson in probably his most subdued role ever as the Reverend of Little Wallop. Don't let that deter you if you're a fan. He still manages to be hilarious without having to lift a finger and when he does go into full comedy mode he is marvellous. However, it is his performance as the absent-minded workaholic vicar who seems helpless in the face of his unravelling marriage that is both touching and believable and demonstrates acting capabilities I would not have expected of him.
In short, this is a very funny and sweet film that should not be missed. ...more info
- Keeping Mum, worth the time.
Brilliant acting from a talented cast. This is a movie that requires you to pay attention to the dialog, not the special effects. Its the story of an English Village "Vicar" (Anglican Priest) who is very self absorbed and timid. He doesn't notice that his parishners walk all over him and his household is falling apart around him. His wife is contemplating an affair, his daughter is as randy as a rabbit with fertility shots, and his youngest son is being maliciously bullied by boys at his school. The wife is at her "wits end" and hires a nanny... Things get interesting as the new "domestic" has very unique solutions to the problems in the household "in her charge". If you liked "Waking Ned Devine" or "Second Hand Lions", you should enjoy this movie also....more info
- Forget Arsenic & Old Lace! Gimme a shovel!
British comedies about murderous old people snuffing out the unwitting or the deserving are legion. My first experience was the play "Arsenic & Old Lace." That black comedy returns in a fairly funny script bolstered by great performances in Keeping Mum.
Smith plays new housekeeper Grace Hawkins, an evil Mary Poppins type who silences noisy animals the hard way and punishes the bullies of one of her charges, Petey, with judicious snips of important wires. The family enjoys her excellent advice and the sudden absence of annoyances in their lives. Atkinson plays an overly serious vicar who gets a chance to show off his acting skills as a kind man of God, but also fumbling as a not-too-cool or sexually vivacious husband. Scott Thomas is his dissastified wife on the verge of infidelity with an American golf instructor (Swayze). Son Petey is mostly incidental, but daughter Holly's issue is nymphomania and too many boyfriends.
The heads roll as the comedy rolls on, but so do doses of pleasant humor and plenty of ways to sympathize with the odd Grace Hawkins, who may be crazy but also seems to love her newfound home and its inhabitants.
This is nothing new, but it's old hat that will appeal to comedy fans. It's not completely family friendly, though. There's almost no grisly, despite the fact that deaths rack up, but there is some frontal nudity of the older daughter. And it may end sweetly, but the moral of the story is a bit twisted in this twisted family home.
-- Brendan Howard...more info
- What a movie!
Keeping Mum is one of the best movies I've seen in a while and it has everything, murder, comedy, sex, you name it! Maggie Smith is perfectly cast as is Kristin Scott Thomas and let's not forget "Mr. Bean," who is equally as good in this delightful movie. Much better and far more entertaining than the usual shoot 'em up crammed with special effects movies that seem to be engulfing our cinemas. If you just want a fun movie with a story, yes a real story, and some laughs, Keeping Mum is one not to keep mum about!...more info
- Fabulous movie!
I have to agree wholeheartedly with the previous reviewer, so this is essentially a 'ditto' comment. The actors were the draw for me to see this movie, all having excellent reputations. Unfortunately I had to go to another state to see it, raved about it to friends and co-workers, and then it was gone within a week! Too bad, people missed a good thing.
Since my only knowledge of Rowan Atkinson was through his TV series, "Thin Blue Line," and "Blackadder," I was surprised and intrigued to see the depth he gave his character, the beleagured, bewildered, and somewhat otherworldly husband. Loved Maggie Smith as Grace and Kristin Scott Thomas as the edgy wife. Patrick Swayze is a hoot as a sleazey golf pro.
- A must see movie!!!
What can I say...though this is clearly somewhat dark humor, this movie is packed with great performances. It is funny and poignant. I loved it!...more info
- A Bit Predictable, But Overall Good Movie....
I must admit with another reviewer that this movie is a cross between Mary Poppins and Arsenic & Old Lace---- though with a modern twist!!
Be prepared to laugh throughout this movie as the characters themselves are outrageous & very well acted by cast members: Patrick Swayze plays the perfect sleazy golf pro, Kristin Scott Thomas plays the perfect part as the bored housewife to a small town vicar and is not a goodie two shoes, nor is she the ideally suited wife one would expect from a vicar's wife, and of course has kids out of control!! And who can forget Maggie Sweet as the star of the show!! Sweet's character comes across as a gentle Mary Poppins type on the surface, but beware of what is just below the surface!
Funny must see movie, if you enjoy British comedy & dark humor!!...more info