When Grace Hawkins comes to work as a housekeeper at the vicar's family at a small English town of Big Wallop, she finds the family to be far from happy. Mr. Goodfellow, the vicar, is struggling to make his boring sermons better. He appears to have lost all connection with his wife and two children who each live their separate life. The wife, Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas), is about to start an affair with her golf teacher. The daughter has sex with one boyfriend after another. The son is being bullied at school. All this upsets the new housekeeper, who has her reasons to be concerned for the family. She is actually Gloria's mother - a fact she keeps secret, as well as her real name, under which she had been arrested forty years ago for double murder. Found to be criminally insane, Grace has spent this time locked away at a special facility.
Determined to help the vicar's family, Grace gets to work. We as viewers are aware of her true identity, so we have a sneaking suspicion that certain annoying characters are going to be dealt with less than peacefully. The suspicion proves to be correct; as Grace herself admits later on, she and her therapists could never agree on the matter of killing people. That is, Grace still does not think there is anything wrong with it, despite being a nice old lady.
I am not a big fan of dark comedy, but I mildly enjoyed this one, mostly because of Maggie Smith who plays Grace Hawkins. She is hilarious in her charming naivety and rather radical problem-solving. Rowan Atkinson plays the vicar, and he does well in this role, but if you expect something similar to his famous Mr. Bean you will be disappointed. One big gripe I have about the movie is that one of Grace's victims happens to be a doggie. A pain-in-the-behind annoying little pest, but still, that's unforgivable. Bump off as many folks as you want, I don't care, but don't you dare touch pets. For that, I rate the movie 3 out of 5.