Walter Goodfellow (Rowan Atkinson), the vicar for the small English country parish of Little Wallop, has allowed his marriage to Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas) go stale, and he is so detached from his family, that he has not taken notice that his seventeen-year-old daughter Holly (Tamsin Egerton) is going through a succession of relationships with unsuitable boyfriends, and his son Petey (Toby Parkes) fears going to school, owing to being bullied. Out of desperation for affection, Gloria begins to fall for the advances of Lance (Patrick Swayze), an American golf pro who is giving her "private" lessons. The problems upsetting the family start to fade away after Grace Hawkins (Dame Maggie Smith), the new housekeeper, arrives and starts tending to matters as an older, and rather darkly mysterious version of Mary Poppins.Written by
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This charming little black comedy should have all but ultra conservatives smiling throughout the ludicrous scripting, eluding gaping plot holes and complete unrealism with sheer likability. A friendly, very export-worthy British comedy, Keeping Mum is a throwback to guilt free, sinister joys that were in much greater fashion before everyone decided to let their films guide their morality. Nothing has recently personified this old fashioned, fun spirited creepiness as affectionately as Maggie Smith's vibrant performance for her semi-cuckoo, housemaid with a few secrets of her own. With a delightful, perceptive supporting cast, the plot may not exactly pull you in (especially the first half), but will nonetheless keep pleasant spirits anchored as the real fun takes hold. Rowan Atkinson in particular, portraying a character not unlike his famous bumbling priest in Four Weddings and a Funeral, gets to exercise more of his subtle comedic chops then usually seen, and the ensuing awkwardness that radiates whenever he is on screen is sweet and endearing.
Despite the obvious tone of an utmost fictionalization, I suppose Keeping Mum will still take a few hits for it's portrayal of religion and murder, but anyone seriously trying to analyze the lack of morality on this one will have missed the whole carefree point. The characters might have been completely unbelievable by the time this thing is over, but the nature of this kind of entertainment does not beckon one to take offense to that.
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