Murder She Did
Release Date: September 15, 2006
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, Patrick Swayze, Emilia Fox, Tamsin Egerton-Dick, James Booth, Toby Parkes, Liz Smith, Patrick Monckton, Rowley Irlam, Vivienne Moore, Andrew Thomas Jones, Jack Ryan, Nazim Kourgli, and Jack Zimmermann
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Niall Johnson
Producer: Julia Palau and Matthew Payne
Writer: Niall Johnson and Richard Russo
Address Comments To:Jeff Sackman
23 East 22nd Street, Fifth Floor
New York, New York 10010
Phone: (212) 444-7900
Fax: (212) 444-7901
The movie’s opening credits roll as a train travels down a track 43 years ago. Blood is discovered coming from a trunk owned by a young pregnant woman passenger. At the next stop, she is arrested for the murder of her husband and a woman with whom he was having an affair. She is sentenced to a mental institution.
Jumping to the present day, Vicar Walter Goodfellow (played by Rowan Atkinson) is too busy dealing with old ladies worried about church flower arrangements to spend time with his wife Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas) and family. Unknown to him, his daughter Holly (Tamsin Egerton) is the town nymphomaniac, his wife begins to study more than golf with an American golf instructor (Patrick Swayze), and his son Peter (Toby Parks) is the target of several bullies at school. Along comes an elderly lady named Grace (played by Maggie Smith), who takes the job as the family’s housekeeper.
The Vicar’s wife has trouble sleeping at night because a near deaf neighbor has a dog that barks all night. The night of Grace’s arrival, the barking stops abruptly after the sound of a frying pan hitting something. The family awakens refreshed to find a fine breakfast ready.
Soon afterward, one of the son’s worst tormentors dies in a bicycle accident when his brakes fail going down a hill. After several scenes establishing that the American golf instructor is a sexual predator of both the vicar’s wife and daughter, he takes up residence at the bottom a local pond.
Meanwhile, the kindly housekeeper has helped the vicar add humor to his sermons, fend off the flower arrangement committee and pay more attention to his wife. The more bodies that wind up in the pond, the better things go for the family, but the truth starts to come out.
The plot and the comedy in KEEPING MUM take some clever twists. It's difficult not to root for the demise of the sex-crazed golf pro, but the movie shows some of his behavior, including some voyeuristic nudity, making it unfit for families. KEEPING MUM also contains unnecessary foul language. The premise that murder is a solution, even if it's presented as humor, is repulsive.
The vicar is actually presented as a sincere man. Throughout the movie he works on a sermon about the mysterious ways that God works. Unaware of the murders and pleased with the improved relationship with his wife and children, he gives God thanks for His grace and for sending Grace the housekeeper. While this is effectively used for its comic potential, the grace of God is not a laughing matter. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution and hopes the filmmakers will use their considerable talents to help audiences understand the true importance of God’s grace.
The vicar is presented as a sincere man. Throughout the movie, he works on a sermon about how God works in mysterious ways. Unaware of the murders and pleased with the improved relationship with his wife and children, he gives God thanks for His grace and for sending Grace the housekeeper. While this is effectively used for its comic potential, the grace of God is not a laughing matter. The plot and the comedy in KEEPING MUM take some clever twists, but presenting murder as a solution and voyeurism makes it unfit for families. Extreme caution is recommended for this movie that is marred by bad language, sex, nudity, and the murders themselves.