Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, Patrick Swayze, Tamsin Egerton, Toby Parkes
Director: Niall Johnson
Screenplay: Richard Russo and Niall Johnson
Rated: M moderate sexual references, moderate coarse language, infrequent violence
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Some family secrets are best kept - buried.
The sleepy English hamlet of Little Wallop is about to receive a rude awakening, as the absent-minded Reverend Walter Goodman (Rowan Atkinson), his dissatisfied wife Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas), and their two children, Holly and Petey, await the arrival of their new housekeeper, Grace Hawkins (Maggie Smith). Gloria is a woman struggling to cope. Her teenage daughter's a nymphomaniac, her young son's the perennial target for the local bullies, and her marriage to Walter has long-since dwindled into monotony. It's no wonder she's failing to resist the advances of her handsome, American, lothario of a golf pro, Lance (Patrick Swayze). What this family needs is salvation. And fast. It comes in the form of "Grace Hawkins", a gentle motherly woman with a smile for everyone and an answer for everything. But Grace is not all she seems...
The Reverend Walter Goodman (Rowan Atkinson) is a bit of a well-intentioned man but doesn't see that his family need him more than he thinks, especially his wife, Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas) who succumbs to the advances of the sleezy and overly tanned American golf-pro Lance (Patrick Swayze). But along comes a new housekeeper, the dear sweet Grace Hawkins (Maggie Smith) and pretty soon things begin to change in the Goodman household.
"Keeping Mum" is set in a quiet and quaint English hamlet and it's not long before murder and mischief become commonplace, as the not-so innocent Grace deals with annoying matters swiftly and with a deathly finality.
It is thanks to the talented Maggie Smith as the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth character that keeps the movie alive. Maggie really is such a gem and has such a lovable and cheeky personality that combines well with her deadpan delivery and faultless timing that makes it hard to believe this woman is a murderer. Kristin Scott Thomas as the forgotten wife delivers a very strong performance and Rowan Atkinson is nicely reserved and thankfully not overdoing the theatrics for once.
Humour is scattered throughout, and although at times predictable, it is still welcome but this is not a non-stop comedy. A highlight comes from Patrick Swayze's Lance as he and Gloria rendezvous for a passionate lunch and he disrobes, showing off his body and tasteless underwear. This really is one of those moments that don't come around too often.
"Keeping Mum" does have a subtle message about the value of family but really it's just a good excuse for some British black humour and that's ok.
Rating : *** ½