Keeping Mum ***
I really do enjoy British humor, as well as the acting. Whenever I see a British film, I prepare myself for top notch acting, a clever story, and jokes that have me rolling in the asles. Of course, the humor that is normally found on the BBC is an aquired taste, and those of you who don't find "The Office," or "Keeping Up Appearances" comical, will most likely dispise "Keeping Mum," one of the best comedies in a while. It also features Rowan Atkinson not being goofy, and using his real voice. If you don't know that name, you probably would know Atkinson as Mr. Bean, the classic character who he usually plays. Here, though, he is able to act a little more normal, and he proves that he can do a regular character as well as a goofy and zany one. It also has Patrick Swanyze, in his best role, because he is able to make fun of the fact that he is pretty much a terrible actor. Very much like David Hassolhoff in "Click," only with a more intelligent storyline.
"Keeping Mum" begins with the conviction of a young pregnant women, who while on the train, is caught with the headless bodies of her husband and his mistress in her leather trunk. Forty three years later, we are introduced to the Goodfellow clan. The father, Walter, is the town vicar, who is concentrating on writing the perfect sermon for a key note address that he has to make for a convention. He has a title, "God's Mysterious Ways," and nothing more. He is so caught up in his assignment, that he doesn't even notice that his wife needs care and love, which is why she begins to have an affair with her golf instructor. And the fact that his daughter is a mini-Lolita, and his son is getting constantly bullied by a gang. The town is small, however the population of fifty-seven has just become fifty-eight, with the introduction of a new housekeeper in the Goodfellow house. Enter Grace, a kind, sweet, and innocent old woman, with delivers her leather trunk two days early. Grace begins to see that strange things are happening in the family, which could destory the peace and serenity that the family could have. And so, she begins to clean house, quite literally, as she tends to the matters at hand, in a quite strange and dark way, while the oblivious Walter continues his quest for the perfect sermon.
Even though Atkinson does turn in a terrific preformance, I really don't understand why he got the top billing. If anything, Kristen Scott Thomas deserves that mention, as she really is the key character, and the center of the whole story. But, leave it to the movie making business to never give the actress a lead billing. She is always second to the male. In many cases, the actor is usually the promient character, but in this case, I feel that they should give credit where credit is due. It's a very funny film, and is dark comedy at it's finest. Maggie Smith really does bring humanity to her dark character, and I wouldn't be surprised if she gets a nomination at the end of the year. The Academy really does love to honor those vets. The comedy here is subtile, and there are really no plot twists to be had. We know that the woman from the beginning of the film is Grace, and it's pointless to try and convince anybody otherwise in the description. It is straightforward fun, with a great script by Richard Russo, who also wrote the underrated "The Ice Harvest" last year. The laughs aren't gut-busting, but they are there, and they will make you smile. The entire film will. It's smart, clever, and it has many fine preformances. The surprise high box office gross for the weekend makes it apparent that the British humor is not lost in America, and hopefully it'll help "Keeping Mum" to sprend. And I hope that Atkinson does more straight roles, instead of the brillant physical comedy which he is famous for. And he also has a very good voice, which is never really heard, especially when he is doing the "Bean" character. There is a great scene, where he is laying in bed, looking at his wife in the mirror. His voiceover reads out the "Song of Solomon" as he begins to fall in love with his wife all over again. And there is also much irony, in the fact that in the end, after everything is said and done, he still has no clue as to the action that transpired. I very highly enjoyed "Keeping Mum" and hope to see more British comedies in the future.