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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Rowan Atkinson
Kristin Scott Thomas
Maggie Smith
Patrick Swayze
Emilia Fox.
Directors
Niall Johnson.
Screenwriters
Richard Russo
Niall Johnson.
Running Time
103 minutes

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Keeping Mum
A cosy Brit-com with a dark edge... and Patrick Swayze.


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Plot
While his wife (Scott Thomas) is succumbing to the charms of her golf instructor (Swayze), oblivious Rev. Walter Goodfellow (Atkinson) worries about his speech for a forthcoming convention. Meanwhile, his daughter is sleeping around and his son’s being bullied. A new housekeeper (Smith) begins to solve the family’s problems, but her methods prove unconventional.


Review
Keeping Mum

Cosy sit-com sensibilities jar with attempted black humour in this British comedy: think The Vicar Of Dibley meets Serial Mom with the seams showing. Maggie Smith is the little old housekeeper whose dark past informs her methods of dealing with the problems that beset the household of Atkinson’s Rev. Walter Goodfellow (namely: a sexless marriage, a barking dog and some school bullies). But her sinister doings sit uneasily with the broad comedy that characterises the rest of the film, from Gloria’s fumblings with sleazy golf pro Lance (Swayze, an unlikely pastoral dweller) to Walter’s stuttering attempts to deliver a funny sermon.

There are a few strong sight gags — as Walter searches for religious jokes on the internet, we read and laugh along with him — and the odd one-liner (“Can I get you any?” enquires Gloria’s innocent young son Petey on hearing that his mother “isn’t getting any”). But much of the comedy feels like a lazy attempt to ape the success of (yawn) Four Weddings And A Funeral, as does the casting of Atkinson and Scott Thomas. And the film’s conclusion feels uncomfortably cynical in the context of such mainstream material.


Verdict
Despite a likeable cast and bursts of wit, this fails to work its darker comic themes into its picture of flawed-but-loveable rural Britain. You’d be better off watching The Vicar Of Dibley.


Reviewed by Anna Smith

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Keeping Mum
Empire Star Rating

Don't understand why Empire only gave this movie 2 stars... personally, I really enjoyed it. The story was something new and funny, plus it had a great cast!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 14:18, 17 October 2009 | Report This Post


four

not five- star, because it survives on its cast and isn't dark enough to justify the conclusion, and the characters' reactions to Grace(Smith)'s antics are irritatingly implausible, but the beautiful isle of man cinematography, sharp wit and the genuinely fantastic cast make this film very much worth viewing. Atkinson and Smith give fine performances as does newcomen tamsin egerton and Patrick Swayze is hilarious as Lance the Sleazy Golf instructor, but Scott-Thomas steals the show with a fantas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bleugh07 at 21:19, 28 October 2008 | Report This Post


four

not five- star, because it survives on its cast and isn't dark enough to justify the conclusion, and the characters' reactions to Grace(Smith)'s antics are irritatingly implausible, but the beautiful isle of man cinematography, sharp wit and the genuinely fantastic cast make this film very much worth viewing. Atkinson and Smith give fine performances as does newcomen tamsin egerton and Patrick Swayze is hilarious as Lance the Sleazy Golf instructor, but Scott-Thomas steals the show with a fantas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bleugh07 at 21:18, 28 October 2008 | Report This Post


four

not five- star, because it survives on its cast and isn't dark enough to justify the conclusion, and the characters' reactions to Grace(Smith)'s antics are irritatingly implausible, but the beautiful isle of man cinematography, sharp wit and the genuinely fantastic cast make this film very much worth viewing. Atkinson and Smith give fine performances as does newcomen tamsin egerton and Patrick Swayze is hilarious as Lance the Sleazy Golf instructor, but Scott-Thomas steals the show with a fantas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bleugh07 at 21:18, 28 October 2008 | Report This Post


four

not five- star, because it survives on its cast and isn't dark enough to justify the conclusion, and the characters' reactions to Grace(Smith)'s antics are irritatingly implausible, but the beautiful isle of man cinematography, sharp wit and the genuinely fantastic cast make this film very much worth viewing. Atkinson and Smith give fine performances as does newcomen tamsin egerton and Patrick Swayze is hilarious as Lance the Sleazy Golf instructor, but Scott-Thomas steals the show with a fantas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bleugh07 at 21:17, 28 October 2008 | Report This Post


four

not five- star, because it survives on its cast and isn't dark enough to justify the conclusion, and the characters' reactions to Grace(Smith)'s antics are irritatingly implausible, but the beautiful isle of man cinematography, sharp wit and the genuinely fantastic cast make this film very much worth viewing. Atkinson and Smith give fine performances as does newcomen tamsin egerton and Patrick Swayze is hilarious as Lance the Sleazy Golf instructor, but Scott-Thomas steals the show with a fantas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bleugh07 at 21:15, 28 October 2008 | Report This Post


RE: TOTALLY DISAGREE!

ht this was a sweet little black comedy.  I enjoyed it a lot.t="trebuchet ms"]Pity it got a low score.t="trebuchet ms"]DA ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dja1231 at 04:45, 16 April 2007 | Report This Post


TOTALLY DISAGREE!

I was very shocked to see that Empire gave Keeping mum JUST TWO STARS! This film is worth WAY MORE! This film shows the great British humour at its best! BLACK COMEDY! Rowan Atkinson plays a fantastic performance as the forgetabole but lovable vicar, Walter Goodfellow. This film was funny from start to finish and has me and my family laughing from start to finish! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Empo at 15:33, 28 April 2006 | Report This Post


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