Keeping Mum is a not bad little comedy on DVD. The performances by Rowan Atkinson, of Mr. Bean fame, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Patrick Swayze are all solid if a bit subdued. You still get the feeling this comedy could have been a little better if it had been a little less British stiff upper lip.
Maggie Smith plays Grace, a nice little old lady who becomes housekeeper for the Goodfellow family. The family is headed by a minister, Rowan Atkinson, and is going through a bad patch: the daughter is a bit wild, the wife is sort of having an affair, the son is being bullied, and the reverend has become a bit bland. When Grace joins the family she is determined to set things right.
There is a certain Mary Poppins quality to Grace but you know there is more to it than that as Keeping Mum starts off with a flashback where a young lady is sent to an asylum for the criminally insane after killing her husband and his girlfriend and stuffing their bodies in a trunk. Unfortunately, the movie underplays the comic potential of this situation. You get the feeling director Niall Johnson did not want to go overboard but ended up not going far enough.
Rowan Atkinson is pretty good as Reverend Goodfellow. You know he is trying to get away from his usual physical comedy and feels the need to play it straight because that is what the character requires but this creates a certain lack of energy to his role that makes the reverend rather bland.
Keeping Mum is a rather fun but forgettable comedy DVD. A good second rental basically.