Film: Keeping Mum

Posted on December 5, 2010


Keeping Mum
Directed by Niall Johnson (2005)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★1/2

It’s hard to find a bad British comedy film; somehow their blood is flowing with the necessary ingenuity to generate laughter. It was my second time watching the black comedy film Keeping Mum, yet I enjoyed it both times. It starts off with the condemnation of a pretty, young lady who murdered and dismembered her husband and his partner, already venturing into the realm of morbid humour. Fast forward forty-plus years and we find ourselves in a small village called Little Wallop, a mere population of 57. We are introduced to a family that is on the brink of falling apart: rebellious teen daughter, bullied son, uptight and unsatisfied mother, unknowing and boring father (who also happens to be the town’s vicar). And who else magically appears as their new granny but the lady (now old, but still just as jolly), fresh out of her confinement? Soon things begin looking brighter, and the entire family can’t help but wonder if the new granny called Grace was God-sent.

(Kirstin Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson)

The strength of the film is carried by the strong performances. The reason why I bothered to watch this in the first place was because of Rowan Atkinson – he is, without a doubt, the funniest man alive and I have so much respect for him. He once again wonderfully executes his role as a blustering, dim-witted vicar; he is pure comic. Alongside him, Kirstin Scott Thomas is just as brilliant as his wife who desperately searches for satisfaction from another man (an American with the accent and hot bod). Yet, it is Maggie Smith, one of the English actress greats, who gives a cunning and refreshing portrayal of caring, lovable granny-slash-murderer. You know you’re in for a treat when you have Rowan Atkinson’s libido activated upon the reading of Song of Solomon or when Maggie Smith smiles wickedly with a butcher knife in hand.

(Maggie Smith as good ol’ granny)

Is this the best British comedy around? Far from it, but those looking for a fun and lighthearted black comedy (yes, I’m aware of the contradiction there; but then again, our generation is capable of making light of serious situations, is it not?) might find this film a delightful romp.

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Posted in: 3.5-stars, film