Rowan Atkinson ("Mr. Bean") plays straight-man Reverend Walter Goodfellow to Grace Hawkins (acted with keen wit by Maggie Smith). Grace is the reverend's genteel serial-killer housekeeper in this delicious British black comedy.
Director Niall Johnson presides over the disarming fun as Grace takes up residence with the vicar and his dysfunctional family in the small English parish of Little Wallop after her recent release from prison for dismembering her adulterous husband.
Unbeknownst to Walter, his wife Gloria (Kristen Scott Thomas) is cheating with her golf instructor (Patrick Swayze) while their nymphomaniac daughter Holly (Tamsin Egerton) works up a constant sweat with her teenage boyfriend, and their young son is beaten up by school bullies on a regular basis.
Grace imposes her strident moral code on the people responsible for eroding the family’s harmony, even if it means she has to deal out a little instant justice. A couple of late-story revelations provide satisfying surprises that tie the bow on this robust homage to Ealing studio classics like "The Ladykillers." "Keeping Mum" is an instant minor classic of British comedy.
Not Rated. 100 mins. (B+) (Four Stars)