Friday, January 17, 2014

"Keeping Mum" (2005)

A subversively dark comedy came and went back in 2005-2006 without much fanfare. Its anonymity is not surprising, both due to the dark subject matter as well as brief, unnecessary, miss-them-if-you-blink nude shots and harsh language. It is one of those unfortunate R ratings that hurt the film’s chances, because it could have been more successful if it changed a mere 9 or 10 words in the script and snipped about 10 frames of film out of the final cut.

That being said, the merits of the film’s message would still be up for debate. The story is summarized pretty simply. A pastor’s family is falling apart right under his nose, but he is too absorbed in his mundane ministry to notice. His wife is on the verge of having an affair with her golf instructor. His teenage daughter seems to be sleeping with every boy her age in their little village. His son is being bullied. It is the perfect set-up for a problem solver like Mary Poppins or Nanny McFee. What we get in this film is a crazy woman who was locked up in a mental hospital for the criminally insane for killing her husband and his lover.

Sure enough, once Grace shows up, things begin to change for the better. The annoying dog across the way disappears. The bullies are taken out. Any threat to the family seems to suddenly go away. Grace also helps the family see the things they have been missing, particularly the father. His sermon on “The Mysterious Ways of God” really comes together as he comes to accept the unfathomable ways of God’s Grace.

All summed up this film is not as funny as it could be, and in many ways too dark to really work. Plus, no one wants to go so far as to have this take on God’s sovereignty working our lives out using the evil aspects to His purposes.

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