Walter Goodfellow, the vicar for the small English country parish of Little Wallop, has allowed his marriage to Gloria go stale, and he is so detached from his family that he has not taken notice that his 17-year-old daughter Holly is going through a succession of relationships with unsuitable boyfriends, and his son Petey fears going to school owing to being bullied. Out of desperation for affection, Gloria begins to fall for the advances of Lance, an American golf pro who is giving her "private" lessons. The problems upsetting the family start to fade away after Grace Hawkins, the new housekeeper, arrives and starts tending to matters as an older, and rather darkly mysterious version of Mary Poppins. Written by
One of Patrick Swayze's final movie roles, 4 years prior to his death on 14 September 2009 from pancreatic cancer. See more »
When everyone is taking the trunk upstairs, the shadow is visible above Grace's head moving around. See more »
Now, let me get this straight. My son is rid of his bullies, my husband has become a comedian and my nymphomaniac daughter has discovered cookery.
[looks up and whispers]
What's going on?
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This is an almost perfect "naughty" English comedy whose humour is too complicated to be described. Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith, and the rest of the cast are perfect. This is the most understated I have ever seen Atkinson, and marks an interesting evolution for him. Two young ladies in front of me were still giggling halfway through the closing credits, and the entire audience, judging from the laughter, had a great time. I chuckled all the way home - think I'll go see it again tonight, as I have an "Unlimited" card, so can see as many movies as I like for 11 pounds a month.
Seriously, this is not a "sweetness-and-light" comedy - it has a dark side, which is evident from the beginning, but that aspect drives the humour, because it touches feelings in us which we must restrain, but in watching the film we are allowed to indulge them. It also has a lot of very deep things to say about marriage and religion (Atkinson plays a shy, self- absorbed country vicar with a beautiful wife and daughter whom he neglects) without indulging in the usual superficial post-modern ironic attacks on either institution. In fact, it has some very intelligent things to say about both of them.
You really must see this movie - it is a gem - if you know people who don't normally go to the movies (like older in-laws) urge them to see this one, or at least rent the DVD.
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