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Keeping Mum

They took her in. Now she's taking them out.  

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Keeping Mum

Director: Niall Johnson

Starring: Maggie Smith, Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patrick Swayze

There’s something very poetic about Dame Maggie Smith going homicidal on the dirty dancing Patrick Swayze whilst wearing an apron. Indeed, Keeping Mum is a film that is both refreshing and genuinely funny and a tribute to new British Comedy. It's Mary Poppins meets Jack the Ripper.

Reverend Walter Goodfellow (Atkinson) is trying to write the perfect sermon. So engrossed is he with his task and his church that he fails to see what is happening to his family. His wife (Scott Thomas), fed up of her sexless life of late, is getting attention from her private ‘golf trainer’ (Swayze) and she isn't complaining. Meanwhile, Walter’s daughter is bringing a torrent of boyfriends home and is using the van outside for more than innocent chats. His son is getting bullied at school and no one even notices. Enter Grace Hawkins, a nanny with a very practical approach to life. Suddenly everyone’s worries seem to disappear - quite literally. Thanks to Grace, the Reverend rekindles the passion with his wife, the daughter puts boys on hold (for a while) and the son manages to deal with the bullies. How Grace manages to sort out the Reverend’s life is a little bit illegal though. From the outset the audience realise that this nanny is not to be screwed with and has a more important agenda than simply sorting out the lives of the household. It all becomes apparent when a news bulletin reports that an elderly woman looking a little bit too much like Grace has gone missing, saying she committed murder in her younger years. What follows is a classic cover-up story, brilliant discoveries and amusing plot twists.

Keeping Mum won’t win any Oscars but its not designed to. Maggie Smith is a joy to watch and you cannot help but love her, despite her unconventional problem-solving habits. Rowan Atkinson’s past performances might make you have your doubts about him as a credible film actor, but his performance is charming. Patrick Swayze is a lot of fun to watch and walks away with some of the best lines while Scott Thomas delivers an engaging performance. Funny, charming, witty and keen, Keeping Mum is a film which will not fail to make you chuckle.

Victoria Galloway

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Summer Term (35mm)