JT Film Review

48 – Keeping Mum (2005)

Keeping Mum REVIEW

3.5/5 stars

Director – Niall Johnson

Cast – Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Rowan Atkinson, Tamsin Egerton, Patrick Swayze


keeping-mumThe cast of Keeping Mum, a British dark comedy, includes Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith and Patrick Swayze; and this sure offers much promise. Personally I’ll see anything with Rowan Atkinson, so I was looking forward to seeing this.

The premise of the movie is classic British dark humour; a pastor’s family with many problems finds them (and the people causing them) disappearing in the night after hiring an elderly nanny. The pastor is played by Rowan Atkinson, and the murderous granny is played, in a surprisingly delicous turn, by that goddess of British acting Maggie Smith. Kristin Scott Thomas is the sexually frustrated wife of the pastor, and Patrick Swayze is the golf instructor with whom she is having an affair. The little known Tamsin Egerton plays their daughter, and is one of the brigher spots in the movie.

The problem is the inconsistencies in the script. When the script is funny, it is hilarious in a darkly comedic way. Only the Brits can make murderous grannies this funny. However, surprisingly the movie veers off into sappy territory half way through. It stops wanting to make it funny, and instead of seeing the humour in the situation it pulls off an unnecessary plot twist and starts milking the dramatic (sappy) plot points for all it can. This negates any comedic potential, and yet the funny bits negate any dramatic content. The two tones essentially cancel each other out.

While the movie is conflicted, it is nice to see a comedy without the typical Hollywood plot. The sense of humour is nice while it lasts, and well… who the heck would have thought Maggie Smith would make such a wonderfully cruel murderess.


The first half of the movie, an excellent ending, and the great acting make the movie watchable. Watch it if you like British humour, or if you like any of the actors involved. They are all excellent, but the sappiness and the badly thought out second act detract from what we could have had here.



“Keeping Mum” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



September 21, 2009 - Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Comedy, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

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