“ Genre: Crime & Thriller - Thriller / Theatrical Release: 1992 / Director: Curtis Hanson / Actors: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay ... / DVD released 15 June, 2006 at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainm / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen „
* Prices may differ from that shown
When it comes to movies, there's not a whole lot that excites me. Give me a new kitchen gadget any day over a trip to the cinema! But this is one that has stuck with me as a truly excellent film and I can watch it over and over, even though I'm probably at the point that I know some lines by heart. I've just discovered the DVD is available for just over £3 on Amazon so have ordered and I am already looking forward to it's arrival. You don't have to order the DVD though if you haven't seen it, ITV own the rights to this movie and show it quite frequently, usually late night on ITV 1 or 2. I think this movie would be classed as a thriller, or possibly a horror. I would class it is as a horror movie because it is very scary and the microcosm of evil in this movie, Peyton, is reminiscent of a monster more than a person. I've heard and read many people describe this movie as OTT, I don't see or believe this at all.
The movie revolves around the Bartel family, Claire is the asthma suffering mother of the family who is molested by her Doctor in very unnerving scenes during a breast exam. When she realises what has happend they report the Doctor to the police and this encourages more molested women to come forward saying the same thing. The Doctor kills himself, leaving behind a loving but scorned widow who we come to know under the alias 'Peyton'. The shock of her husbands death causes her to lose her baby, and she becomes hell bent on revenge against Claire for coming forward and causing all this.
Calling herself Peyton Flanders, she worms her way into the family, slowly destroying it and trying to steal the young girl, Emma and the Bartel's newborn baby for herself. She turns the family against the loving Solomon who is suspicious of her, by convincing the family he is stealing Emma's underwear, she feeds her breastmilk to the baby so he won't take Claire's, and tries to make it appear as though husband Michael is having an affair. She also starts to believe she and Michael have a 'thing' going on which doesn't go unnoticed by a worried Claire. Not to mention, Peyton then follows this with a trap to kill Claire, but someone throws a spanner in the works by uncovering her secret, unfortunately for them they end up dead in the trap set for Claire.
I won't reveal some of the key plot turns or spoil the ending, but will say that it climaxes with a very distressing edge-of-seat end scene when everything comes to a head, and ultimately another more central character dies a nasty death. Will Peyton meet her goal and manage to make the Bartel family her own? Or will she be found out and stopped in her tracks? I suppose this movie definitely works best the first time you see it, and many will probably only want to watch it once as after that you know what will happen, but I am still gripped by many scenes and find myself shouting at Peyton and Claire, knowing full well exactly what is going to happen!!
For a old and I imagine quite low budget film this is one of my all time favourites. The acting of evil Peyton by Rebecca de Mornay is truly excellent. Her portrayal of a psychopath is amazing, and the fact that she manages to portray an image of kindness and caring under the guise of the family nanny whilst slowly destroying is very worrying - it could easily happen to anyone in the real world after all! The rest of the cast isn't very remarkable, I don't know them from anything else but they play their parts well. Annabella Sciorra's asthma acting is a bit naff, but she plays a haggered and tired housewife very effectively.
Ultimately at £3 for a great piece of cinema you can't go wrong, if you have your doubts then just give it a try. It keeps you entertained, worried, uneasy and scared just through the use of great characters and a great storyline, no special effects needed. Keep it in the cupboard or on the shelf and next time you are stuck for something to watch give this a try. Enjoy.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is a great thriller released in 1992 that had me on the edge of my seat when I first watched it a few years back now. It is convincing and believable with great performances from the likes of Rebecca De Mornay, Ernie Hudson and Annabella Sciorra.
The plot for this movie surrounds Claire played by Annabella Sciorra and details when she visited her new gynecologist. This is for a check-up late in her pregnancy. Claire feels she has been treated badly by the doctor in question and accuses him of misconduct. Once the story breaks it prompts other women to come forward too with their claims. Unfortunately weighed down by these accusations against him the doctor in question kills himself. We discover that his wife is played by Rebecca De Mornay who is pregnant herself. However, due to the stress brought on by the stories surrounding her husband and then his ultimate suicide, she has a miscarriage and loses the unborn baby.
This all sets up the story in the movie well and Rebecca De Mornay decides that she will wreak revenge on the woman that did this to her, namely Claire. She is filled with stress and anger and decides to teach her what it's like to experience the same pain and suffering that she has. Therefore, she takes the job of Nanny to Claire's family. This is when the thrills begin as she worms her way into their household with terrifying results.
The way the characters are portrayed make this movie work so well and make it realistic and believable. Annabella Sciorra as Claire is fantastic in her role as the weak victim in all of this from the supposed rape to the treatment at the hands of De Mornay. Speaking of Rebecca De Mornay she is the strong character who controls Claire from the moment she walks into her life. She gives a great innocent vibe to gain entry to their home and their trust. She then gradually sets up the storyline with her hidden agenda.
This is definately one of the better thriller/suspense movies I've seen in recent times. Add the strong cast to the believable story line makes this a fantastic film. I thought the way the film builds and builds towards it's terrifying climax is done very well. This movie doesn't leave out any details and I would recommend to older audiences but not to younger children.
RELEASED: 1992 (Cert.15)
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
DIRECTOR: Curtis Hanson
PRODUCER: David Madden
Annabella Sciorra as Claire Bartel
Rebecca De Mornay as Peyton
Matt McCoy as Michael Bartel
Ernie Hudson as Solomon
Madeline Zima as Emma Bartel
Julianne Moore as Marlene
Way back in the early 1990s, I was buying lots of movies on video, as I was sick and tired of watching all the TV programmes which were in fashion at the time - you know, those where contestants on game shows would 'win' opportunities to do things such as sky-diving, bungee jumps etc. Aside from suffering a severe overdose of the grossly infuriating Anneka Rice and the fact that I find these sorts of TV programmes even less entertaining than the thought of having my nipples ripped off with red-hot pliers minus an anaesthetic, they to me are just another excuse for annoying bunches of people to get together and make a lot of shrieking, unnecessary noise - the less noise in my life the better. But, I digress!
Amongst the many movies I purchased during those dark days of TV, was Curtis Hanson's The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. A couple of my friends had warned me against this film, saying they'd found it lacking credibility to the point of being ridiculous, but I like to judge these things for myself - so, I settled on the sofa one Saturday evening with a scrumptious Indian takeaway, and clicked the 'play' button, hoping to be entertained, even if in a cheap tat sort of way.
The basic storyline is set in the very classy suburbs of Seattle. When pregnant Claire Bartel blew the whistle on her gynaecologist (Victor Mott) for molesting her during what should have been a routine examination, his subsequent suicide left his pregnant wife (Peyton) widowed. During a discussion with her legal advisors, Peyton miscarried, and whilst in hospital recovering after having had to undergo a hysterectomy, she happened to watch a TV news report which gave away the identity of Claire Bartel as being the first woman to have reported what Victor Mott had done, and that afterwards, several other women had come forward saying he'd done the same thing to them.
A couple of months pass by, and we are taken into the Bartel household. Claire, her husband Michael, daughter Emma (aged about 5 or 6) and the baby are a happy, well-adjusted family living in what appears to be the ideal domestic situation. Claire's passion for gardening leads her into wanting to build her own greenhouse, and after having employed the sweet, gentle-natured Solomon as a handyman - who came from a local day care centre for people with special needs - it is decided that the family should advertise for a live-in nanny to look after the new baby and Emma, allowing some time for Claire to pursue her hobby.
After having seen the Bartels' advert, and remembering Claire's name from the news report she'd seen in hospital, Peyton jumps at her chance to exact revenge for the death of her husband and her miscarriage, by applying for the job of live-in nanny. Claire and Michael are very impressed with Peyton during their meeting with her, and they offer her the job.
Once inside the Bartel household, Peyton begins her mission of revenge upon Claire.
That's pretty much all I'll give away about the film, as I don't want to spoil the story for anybody.
Despite what my friends who'd not been keen on the film had told me, I was riveted to my TV screen from start to finish, on first viewing. I have watched it a few times since, and though I still enjoy it very much in a strange sort of way, it's not a film that for me bears too much repetition. It's one of those films where, though it's obvious what is going on and maybe what the final outcome will be, it isn't easy to predict the path that the film will take, and though it's pretty obvious what the actual ending will be, there's no indication earlier on in the film as to how that anticipated ending will happen. Therefore, it's a definite surprise on the first occasion of watching, but once you know how the film shapes up and what the story is - particularly the ending - it's nowhere near as enjoyable on subsequent viewings.
For me, the best part about the film as a whole, is the acting and the general domestic setup that the Bartels have, which I personally feel is quite classily portrayed. I do agree with other people's opinions in that Rebecca De Mornay was possibly a bit over the top in her role as the revengeful, disturbed Peyton, but I also feel there was something deliciously macabre in the way she almost effortlessly switched from being caring nanny, into a cold, calculating, scheming bitch, then into phases where she in private would tip over the edge into vicious and spiteful rage. I also like the casting of Peyton in the sense that she's an extremely attractive woman in a soft, feminine sort of way - yet the beautiful, initially benevolent sex-bomb quickly turns into a sinister harridan.
I feel the film is quite clever in the way that Peyton carefully, and at times with subtlety (particularly early on in the film) manages to control and manipulate those around her to further her mission of madness and revenge.
I did find the character of little Emma a tad irritating at times, but it is possible that could be due to me overall not being a great fan of children.....I found it annoying that towards the end, she didn't do as she was told in a situation of danger. Of course though, that's how the film is written and I don't mean my irritation at the character of Emma to be an aspersion on the then very young actress, Madeline Zima.
My favourite character in the film is the lovely, sweet, gentle-natured Solomon; the kindly 'special needs' man who the Bartels employ as their fence-builder and general all-round handyman. Even under the greatest of provocation (watch the film to find out what!!!), he still remains laid-back and benevolent, yet there is also what I can only describe as a warm, serene assertiveness about him. I think I fell in love with Solomon from his first appearance in the film, where he plays a little joke and worries the Bartels somewhat, by measuring the garden in a strange way, for the purposes of building a fence. It's a delight throughout film to watch Solomon riding his rickety old bicycle or pushing his wheelbarrow around and wiggling his bum as he walks, building not only the fence, but a bird-house too, and he really knows how to relate to little Emma, because his own disposition is so sweet and childlike.
I wouldn't class The Hand That Rocks The Cradle as a horror film as some people have done; to me, it is a slightly naff, but rather interesting and somewhat gripping psychological thriller. The musical score is largely comprised of Peyton's radio alarm, which goes off very early in the mornings, and plays a particular piece of opera that I'm afraid I can't name, nor can I find out what it is from surfing relevant internet sites, but ever since I my first viewing of the film, that music has never failed to sound rather sinister.
There's no doubt about it.....The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is a very entertaining film - a real chiller - that gradually builds up its suspense levels towards what I can only call a riotous finale. Even if you are one of the people who would think this film a little over the top in parts, you may still find it enjoyable to watch, and it's something that can adequately while away a rainy evening when you're bored and having nothing else to do. As said above though, it doesn't stand too many viewings, simply because once you know what's coming next, at least 50% of the entertainment value vanishes from the film.
I do have two big downers on this film. The first is that as described way up above, we see Peyton lying in a hospital bed watching the news report where Claire's identity is revealed. I do feel that if the situation of the film were real life, Claire's name wouldn't have been mentioned for reasons of confidentiality. To me, that comes across as an inaccuracy. The second downer is regarding a scene involving Peyton and Claire's friend Marlene. I don't want to describe the scene as it would give too much away, but my question is.....if this scene in the film is intended to depict a real life occurrence, why didn't anyone in the vicinity hear what happened?
I wouldn't put it in my all-time top 20 of great movies, but if I were to create a different list, of say my all-time top 20 movies which aren't exceptionally wonderful yet are still entertaining, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle could creep into the first five.
If you'd like to watch this film, it currently can be viewed in sections lasting approximately 10mins each on YouTube (at least until/if it ever gets removed for copyright reasons). Alternatively, you can purchase the film from Amazon; current prices are as follows:-
New: From £3.58 to £19.99
Used: From £1.74 to £100.00 !!!!
£1.24 shipping charges should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) is pregnant with her second child, on a visit to an obstetrician Claire is molested by her Doctor. Claire informs her husband Michael (Matt McCoy) of the crime and the couple file a complaint, following this complaint other victims come forward and knowing that his career is over the Doctor shoots himself in the head.
Months later, baby Joe has been born and things couldn't be better for the couple. Michael thinks that Claire needs a break from taking care of the children 24/7 so he encourages her to hire a Nanny. Claire takes this advice on board and hires Peyton Flanders (Rebecca De Mornay) however what Claire doesn't know about her 'perfect' Nanny is that she's actually the dead doctor's widow. Upon her husband killing himself, Peyton lost her baby resulting in her having a hysterectomy. For this she blames Claire and her family and will do anything to get her revenge on them...
This is a film that I had never heard of up until a few nights ago, it's recently been showing on Sky Movies as they often show old classic films and this was a film that they had called a modern classic and a tense thriller. On that simple description I decided to watch this film, I had read in the synopsis about the basic premise of the babysitter taking revenge on the family that had ruined her life but aside from that I didn't know what to expect from this.
There were numerous scenarios that came to mind prior to watching the film when I thought about why the babysitter wants to take revenge and none of my explanations even came close to the one the film gives us. I think the premise of the film is excellent as it keeps you on the edge of your seat just waiting for the truth to be revealed, unfortunately the audience is kept waiting a lot longer than they should and all that's in store is a very short, sharp and simple climax that was highly predictable but tense all the same.
The film runs for approximately 110 minutes, I feel that this could have and should have been a bit shorter because a lot of the film was quite slow running. This is definitely a slow burner but it's undoubtedly worth it because it's very tense all the way through. Usually when I find a film slow I'll turn it off within 20 minutes however given the premise and the standard of acting in this film I wanted to watch it all the way through and I found myself so entrawled with the plot line that I couldn't take my eyes off it for a second in fear of missing something crucial.
The film isn't as frightening as, say, Fatal Attraction but this one takes on a different premise than that because it brings the children into a lot more which will mess with any parents emotions, in turn dragging them into the movie. It's not exactly an original storyline, it is one that has been done numerous times before in similar shapes and forms and there are arguably better films of this genre out there but this film really captured my attention right from the start by gradually building up tension as it goes along.
The star of the film is undoubtedly Rebecca De Mornay who plays the unhinged babysitter (who looks like a cross between Amanda Holden and Nicole Kidman) intent on exacting her revenge on the family. I like how her character seems completely in control of her actions, she's able to switch between the loving babysitter to the unhinged lunatic with ease and it made this a really exciting film. The fact that her character isn't completely insane is a great touch as well, lots of films like to go the whole 9 yards and make their villain a complete psychopath but the director has taken the clever option here and made his villain a human being with a grudge. This makes the character a lot more unnerving because you never know what they're going to do next, with a deranged lunatic you know that they're not in control of what they're doing therefore could just flare up at any moment, however Peyton keeps her cool at all situations, even when her plan is cottoned onto by the sweet yet dim Solomon (Ernie Hudson).
Solomon was my favourite character out of all the cast, he's been placed in a job as the family gardener by the home that he's in due to his severe learning difficulties. What's great about Solomon is that he brings a different dimension to the film, when he first appears on screen he's wearing a hoody and wandering around the family garden appearing to be a burglar. This immediately makes the audience think that he's another villain and the fact that he's got learning difficulties made me even more suspicious of him because it could easily have been an act. Right from the start the film manages to create a tense, taut and unnerving atmosphere which it maintains throughout.
There are parts of the story that are very contrived, the fact that a stranger could turn up at your doorstep claiming to be a Nanny only to be given the job a couple of hours later with only one reference from a previous family, are parents these days really that careless? No I don't think so, but of course there needed to be a severe lack in judgement here for Payton to get the job, it's just a shame that she didn't get the job using a more cunning method, she could have 'got rid' of one of the other job applicants making her character even more frightening because although she was unnerving she wasn't exactly frightening.
The ending was a bit lacklustre for me, of course you finally see Payton snap and the end scenes are very tense to watch however it doesn't last long enough, in a matter of 10 minutes the whole thing is over and I felt a little disappointed that it didn't go on for longer with much more of a struggle.
Overall I thought that this was a good, but not a great film. It's worth a watch but I think one watch is enough as it's a very slow burner and even the tension created throughout the film isn't enough to make me want to watch this again. I'd recommend this if you haven't seen it before but instead of buying it look out for it on Sky Movies.
The DVD is available from play.com for the very high price of £12.99.
Because this is an old film you shouldn't expect to find any special features on the disc.
This film is about the Bartel family, Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra), her husband Michael (Matt McCoy), and their 6-year-old daughter Emma (Madeline Zima).
Claire is pregnant and whilst in the care of her new Dr, Dr Mott, she is sexually assulted. Michael encourages Claire to report it and soon other women start to come forward saying the same.
Dr Mott then shoots himself, leaving his heavily pregnant wife to have a miscarriage with the stress of it all. She has to undergo an emergency hysterectomy and blames the Claire Bartel for all of it as she is the woman who made the complaint about her husband in the first place.
Meanwhile life is still going smoothly for the Bartels, Baby Joey has just been born and Soloman, played by Ernie Hudson, (who is mentally handcapped) has been helping them make some home improvements and generally taken under the familys wing.
Wanting to have some more time to pursue her hobby Claire begins looking for a Nanny.
Enter Payton Flanders (Hmmm we have seen her somewhere in this movie before!) who just seems to good to be true and the Bartels hire her immediately.
The thing about people that seem to good to be true is that they usually are....
I am not one for spoiling plots so will leave it there... if you are wanting a spoiler there are plenty of websites/reviews that will give you it :)
I am on the fence when it comes to this film, I can sit there and enjoy it but still pick fault the whole way through.
Firstly the acting by Annabella Sciorra was in my opinion pathetic, she has the worst 'asthma' I have ever seen and I just remember thinking "well love if THATS how you take your inhaler no wonder you are always wheezing".
Also I must say I disliked the character of Claire Bartel, considering she is supposed to be the eventual hero of the film she is a very weak, whiny, over emotional little thing and also not very bright. At all.
There is not a lot that can be said for the character and acting of Micheal Bartel as there was little evidence.
Their 6 year old daughter Emma seemed to have more balls than both of them and a higher IQ. Madeline Zima was brilliant and gave a good firm tug on the heartstrings.
Rebecca de Mornay's acting I found more pleasing. I loved the fact that she could switch from good to bad in a split second and had two different voices, the voice of Payton and the voice of Mrs Mott.
I actually felt a little sorry for Mrs Mott, although she seemed a hard faced old bat it must be a real kick in the teeth to find out your husband is accused of sexual assult (which lets face it, she doesn't know if it is true or not), then kills himself, then you lose a baby you were desperate for, then you can't ever have any kids. I think I would be fairly miffed in those circumstances... I think some of the ideas she came up with to tear the family apart were classic!
However, I think in this film the award has to go to Ernie Hudson for his role as Soloman. The acting was outstanding and to see him being bullied by Peyton/Mott was really quite heartwrenching for me.
I do like the character of Soloman as well, I think it is great that not one person of normal intelligence doubts Peyton for a second but the very moment he (the 'retard') first meets her, he knows this woman is not right. I love the way he kind of stalks the family to ensure they are safe and its lovely at the end when he becomes the hero.
There are some scenes in this movie that the director or producer or writers should have picked up on and improved.
Firstly, the scene where Claire goes into respiritory arrest. My other half is a nurse and during this scene was shouting and cursing at the screen about how unreliastic it was and how a respiritory arrest looks NOTHING like that. Needed to have been more thoroughly researched.
2. When the credits were rolling up at the end I was in fits of laughter to see that they actually employed "asthma consultants". Well... I'm sorry, they should have been sacked! What a total mockery of asthma!!! The actress should have known how to take an asthma pump and how to wheeze like an asthmatic. This is the job of the asthma consultants one would assume? Well... they were skivving.
3. Someone hits you in the back with a spade and you pass out... highly unlikely. Yeah you would possibly fall over and be a little dazed but doubt you would pass out.
4. Why, oh why would you hire someone to come into your home after meeting them for 4 hours and not checking the reference provided?!
5. The fact that both Claire and Micheal have no depth or initiative! None.
6. If you thought your child had been abused would you really have just sacked the person and then carried on like normal? NO, after you had informed the police, you would surely try and get some counselling for the child!?
7. And in my opinion this is the more important.... would you, ever let a woman who is far more attractive than you move into your house, sorry no. Every female I know would pick the ugliest Nanny they could find... just to be on the safe side lol.
Basically this is an okay film to watch if you are bored and at a loss but expect to question the intelligence of some of the characters.
You can pick it up in Tesco these days for about £3
This is of my all time favourite films. This came out in 1992 and I got into the cinema to see it, even though I was only 12 and this is a 15 certificate - ssshh don't tell on me! I bought it on video when it came out, and when I got a Dvd player this was 1 of the first ones I bought.
The film starts off with a family called the Bartel family. Claire Bartlett, her husband Michael, their small daughter Emma, and she is pregnant with a son, who she calls Joe. Family life seems to be going alright. She goes for a check up during her pregnancy and is a bit distraught afterwards. She feels the doctor, Dr Mott is being unprofessional. Although he is examining her as she is there to be done, she feels he is touching her inappropriately. She comes out very shaken and upset, and reports the Dr to the board. He is suspended, and then other women come forward to say he has been like that with them. He is struck off as a Dr, but he commits suicide.
The case is all over the news, and watching the news is Dr Mott. You see him raising a gun to his head and shooting himself. A while later we get to see Dr Mott's pregnant wife Peyton. Being upset that Dr Mott was accused of everything, and that he had killed himself leaving her and their unborn baby she gets so upset she loses the baby. Peyton is played by Rebecca De Mornay.
Peyton blames Claire for everything, since Claire reported her innocent (in her eyes) husband, and Claire has the perfect family, and Peyton now has nothing. So she set out to get her revenge on Claire. Peyton says she is a nanny, and she ends up tracking the Bartel family down to offer her services as a nanny. At first they refuse, but see how helpful Peyton is, and how she gets on with Emma they decide to give her the job and let her sleep in a room in the house.
Throughout the film we see how devious Peyton is, and how she is trying to ruin the family. It is mainly Claire she is after, but she is targetting everyone around Claire. From setting their Handyman Solloman up to indicate he is behaving inappropriately towards Emma, trying to say Michael is having an affair, to driving Claire's friends away from her. Claire feels like she is going mad, and everyone around Claire believe helpful friendly Peyton. This doesn't last forever and I of Clare's friends sees through Peyton and sets out to tell Claire. Peyton has already suspected this, so sets a trap to kill her.
There is a lot of twists and turns in the film, and I think it is a great watch. It isn't over the top and I think it could be quite believeable.
I'm not going to spoil the rest of the film, so if you haven't seen it I recommend a watch of this, and if you have seen it, why not watch this great film again!
This has been my favourite film for 15 years, and I am only 25. Someone with a very disturbed but brilliant mind wrote this screenplay.
The film is about a pregnant women who gets sexually abused by her obstetrician and after submitting a complaint starts an avalanche of other women to come forward with similar complaints. The doctor kills himself leaving his pregnant wife with nothing. From the stress she faints and loses her baby. Months later she tracks down the initial complainant and befriends her and becomes nanny to her two young children, trying to win their affections away from their mothers.
The story takes numerous twists and turns before the truth is revealed in a truly thrilling ending.
The actors in this film are all fantastic including a young Julianne Moore and the brilliant Rebecca de Mornay as the deranged nanny, Peyton Flanders. She plays the character so well you actually start to feel sorry for her and empaphise with her situation. Not something you would usually feel for a crazed maniac.
One of the best characters and actors in the film is the fabulous Ernie Hudson who plays Soloman, a special needs man who does some handywork for the family and is the first to suspect that the nanny is up to no good. The way Peyton deals with this is truely shocking but very clever...you really must watch it.
The film is from the early 90's and so has no graphics, is slow paced but brilliantly thought out and composed. The script is clever and the characters believable. The ending is truely gripping and even has some of the traits of a horror movie.
What a film.
I first saw this film 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle' around 10 years ago when I purchased it from a video club I was a member of. I've since purchased it in DVD format as I enjoyed it so much. Its a Thriller / Drama genre and does have you hooked from the start. Its very cleverly written and directed a thouroughly enjoyable creepy film.
Annabella Sciorra .... Claire Bartel
Madeline Zima .... Emma Bartel
Matt McCoy .... Michael Bartel
Rebecca De Mornay .... Peyton Flanders/ Mrs.Mott
John de Lancie .... Dr. Victor Mott
Ernie Hudson .... Solomon
Julianne Moore .... Marlene Craven
Claire (Annabella Sciorra) is happily married and pregnant. Her Doctor (John De Lancie) assaults her during a gynaecological examination.
Following this, Clare goes public with the case, the Doctor commits suicide and his wife (Rebecca de Mornay / Peyton) has a miscarriage. Several months later, 'Peyton Flanders' turns up on Clare Bartel and and husband Michael's doorstep, as the perfect nanny for the new-born child...Seemingly sweet and helpful, Peyton slowly worms her way into the familys life and world. Once she has gained their trust, she begins to wreak havoc in their lives. Peyton wants the child very badly, to replace the one she lost. Peyton doesn't launch an obvious assault on Clare. No that would be too simple, instead she's schemes to get into the family and then to kill Clare by posing as a nanny. Turning husband and daughter against mother, and getting rid of anyone she perceives as a threat.This is achieved by carefully contrived efforts by Peyton.
Rebecca De Mornay was fabulous as Peyton. She expressed the role as a twisted physco rather well. Her scheming, manipulating, great acting was assisted by her fantastic range of facial expressions and butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. A beautiful lady filling an ugly role. I think this is one of her best performances a highly talented actress.
Annabella Sciorra was very well cast as Clare, the beautiful, but somewhat dim at times Mother. She is an obviously talented actress. She played out her horror scenes well and the tortured soul act was very good. When she was supposedly loosing her marbles she was excellent. Not too sure about the Astma scene though, but I guess thats a tough one if your not Asthmatic.
Madeline Zima who played the daughter was a real cutie. She was believable even at such a young age. One to watch for the future I think.
Matt McCoy played the part of husband Michael Bartel. He did a good job in this role. Not the best as some of his scenes made you want to shout wake up man! I know he was portraying a man being duped but he seemed a little doscile or was that just me?
Ernie Hudson had the part of the mentally impared gardener / handyman, Solomon. He was very good. I found his acting to be spot on for this role. You could relate to his character and his frustrations. He portrayed his character very well and was believable.
Julianne Moore played out the part of best friend to Clare, Marlene Craven. She was an excellent choice for the role. She was amusing and witty and stole some of the scenes I felt. She played her part of a jealous, suspicious friend extremely well. Her acting I found was one of the best in the film.
* MINOR FAULTS:
The only fault I found with this film is the fact that there were so many reasons why it doesnt seem realistic.
* An example being Peyton is hired to be the nanny even though, she admits she wasn't sent by a nanny agency. That would have to ring alarm bells with anyone.
* She doesn't have clear cut references.
* Marlena Craven (Clare's friend) doesn't like her one bit.But Clare doesn't see that Peyton is responsible despite the warnings from Marlena.
* The obvious advances Peyton is making toward Michael. Anyone else would have given her a right hook and her marching orders!
* Also the other person who doesn't believe Peyton's a real nanny and is suspicious, is Solomon. Solomon is a black man who is mentally challenged, He plays a great character and is very lovable. Solomon has the intelligence to realize Peyton is a complete fruit cake. However, Peyton before Solomon has a chance to discuss his suspicions of her, gets rid of him, thus leaving the Bartel family once again an easy target for her.
Any one of these factor would normally make anyone stop and think but it doesnt seem to phase Clare, this is what makes it somewhat unbelievable.
But these facts didn't spoil the film, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
* BEST SCENES:
One of the best scenes I feel was Peyton rigging the families greenhouse... supposedly for Clare but instead Marlena cops for it. Very grisly and gory but what an imagination.A very well set up and thought out scene.
Another is the Breast Feeding, when Solomon catches Peyton breast feeding the baby, alarm bells do ring. But this is really creepy and its when you truly realise what Peyton is up to.
Another is Clare has a history of asthma and she must take her inhaler. Well one day, husband Michael must deliver an important proposal to his company. Clare volunteers to do it, but when her back is turned, Peyton hides the proposal thus ensuring some problems in the marriage of the Bartels. The stress caused on Clare causes her to have several asthma attacks.Peyton is seen emptying Clare's inhalers so she is put into grave danger.Being Asthmatic myself thats scary stuff!
* FILM DETAILS:
Made in: USA
Length of film: 110 minutes
Directed by: Curtis Hanson
Written By: Amanda Silver
Genre: Thriller / Drama
Price: £9.99 On Video and £5.99 on DVD
This film might be an oldie but if you havent seen it do so... Its great entertainment and I really enjoyed it. I have watched it several times.
"You never let a women get a power position in home" and "Hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world" -Marlene Craven (Julianne Moore's good character in Hand Rocks The Cradle). "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" from 1992 and by Hollywood Pictures was a movie. I remembered it did create a buzz when it came out. The performances were good, but what really got it attention was this vile and almost mesmerizing character of Peyton Flanders (Rebecca Mornay). An over the edge psycho who wants to get revenge on one family because of a miscarriage she suffered over the fact that her husband , Dr. Mott (John De Lancie) has been found guilty of sexually foundling his own patients. Of course Dr. Mott has Dr. Mott has had a long history of doing this and his wife knows about it. However his dark secret is exposed by Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) who while pregnant gets some unwanted sexually advances by the good old Dr. Bartel then is pointed as the first woman to come out as one of the Dr. victim's and this causes a domino effect where other victims come of the closet to talk about the Dr. The Dr's games are over , however he can't deal with the fact that he has been exposed and going to prison, so he commits suicide (via a gunshot). Peyton (Mornay) loses their baby in the process and when she finds out Miss Bartel was the first victim to speak out she does what any typical psycho would do, she targets her for her revenge. The expression "Hell on Wheels" definitely applies here. Peyton's character is quite a sight for sore eyes, I haven't seen a psychotic character like this since Glenn Close's Alex character in Fatal Attraction. However, Peyton doesn't launch an obvious assault on Claire. No she's schemes to get into the family and then killing Clare by posing as a nanny fo
r hire in the family. She then sets up the situation to get hired by making it look like the baby of the Bartel's is choking and thus saving her life. Pathetic. However the Bartels, Clare and Michael (Matt Mccoy) laughingly fall for the lies of Peyton despite the fact that she isn't whom she claims to be but then again the Bartel family is such a naive family that they are easily pluckings for Peyton's revenge. For instance, Peyton is hired to be the "nanny" even though, she admits she wasn't by a nanny agency , she doesn't have clear cut references, and Marlena Craven (Clare's friend) doesn't like her one bit. That about sums the movie itself in a way. It seems several characters are either too dumb or too naive to see what's going and this in turn leads to the disastrous things that happen at the hands of Peyton. For example it seems that Clare has a sort of asthma problem and she must take her pills. Well one day, Michael (Matt Mccoy) must turn in an important proposal to his company. Clare volunteers to do it, but when her back is turned, Peyton hides the proposal thus ensuring some problems in the marriage of the Bartels. The stress caused on Clare causes her to have several asthma attacks yet she doesn't see that Peyton is responsible despite the warnings from Marlena or the obvious advances Peyton is making toward Michael. Yes that's right Peyton every the home-wrecker tries to make sexual advances toward this gullible guy to break up the family. Add further insult the other person who doesn't believe Peyton's nanny character is who she claims is Solomon (Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters and Oz). Solomon is a black man who is mentally challenged, yet despite this Solomon has the intelligence to realize Peyton is a psycho. However, Peyton before Solomon has a chance to discuss his suspicions of her, gets rid of So
lomon, thus leaving the Bartel family once again an easy target for her. However, the movie doesn't end there as Clare's friend Marlena is about to find out what is going on , but what will the be the conclusion to this ? LOL I made it sound like a soap opera. But all kidding aside "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" is a very intense psychological thriller. Probably the best that came after Fatal Attraction and was then followed by another thriller about a psycho woman in "Single White Female" with Bridget Fonda. The Directing ------------- Curtis Hanson directed this thriller masterpiece which has it all, some good twists, some stunts and the obvious murders that happens near the end, when characters become aware of who exactly Peyton Flanders is. Curtis Hanson is the same guy who did LA Confidential, so he obviously knows not only how to make good movies, but great thrillers like these. The only real beef here is that perhaps makes the Bartel family too stupid to see what's going on. I mean they get several suspicious hints that Peyton is not who she claims to be but they don't follow through on their suspicious. That in turn leads to Peyton doing her bad deeds in the film and almost killing all of them. Performances ------------ The performances are good all around but the one that most stood out is Peyton (Rebecca De Mornay's characters). This made a comeback of sorts for Rebecca as she made a string of flops in between her good films like "Risky Business". However, "Hand That Rocks the Cradle", really made her stand out as an actress, especially an actress that can play the villain. You will recognize Rebecca again playing the villain in ABC's "The Practice", playing vile slimy lawyer Hannah Rose. So Rebecca has a good knack for doing these dysfunctional ch
aracters and doing it well, but looking at Rebecca's upbringing (she is the daughter of dysfunctional host Wally George)so that doesn't surprise me. The movie is also on Special Edition DVD so you will definitely want to check it out.
Admittedly there are few here who will not have already seen this movie or seen it in the television listings and passed it by - its certainly had that many showing thats you'd be hard pressed to have avoided it completely anyway. As such, its not something I would generally bother to review, but having just been wandering through Dooyoo's movie section(as I tend to do out of necessity since the search engine is a little 'unreliable' shall we say) I stumbled across it and wondered what Dooyoo reviewers had made of it. Strangely, what is considered to be one of the better, more suspenseful 'enemy within' style movies only receives very poor 1 and 2 star write ups in half of the opinions expressed which personally I find a little surprising because surely its better than that. Isn't it? Well, here my two penneth for what its worth anyway... The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is a movie which plays upon a parent's worst nightmares, ripping into the very heart of white middle class yuppie lifestyles but which tends to gloss over some of the more searching emotional issues in favour of going for the easy scare. We are presented with a parent's worst nightmare if only because the parents here are portrayed as being dumber than a sackful of arseholes, letting a stranger who appears unwarranted onto their doorstep into their lives and putting her in the most hallowed position of trust imaginable - as nanny to their children. There is no attempt to investigate the more heartrending decisions or guilt felt by parents who must(or choose to) work at the expense of looking after their children and the time it takes them to cotton on to their nanny's activities ranks them as among the dumbest parents around - but there you go, its Hollywood and there would be very litte story here if people behaved completely rationally. As it happens, in failing to address some of the more 'real life' issues which this movie lends its
elf too, what this movie has instead more room for is tension building and tension is something it crafts very well. Our family here, comprised of Annabella Sciorra and Matt McCoy as two middle class parents-to-be, begin the story having just lost their gynacologist after he moved to another town. Sciorra is pregnant and needs another which she finds in a doctor who sexually molests her on her first visit. Naturally she files a law suit against him, four other women following suit leading to him commiting suicide when he finds out. A number of months down the line, baby now born, a nanny appears on their doorstep offering her services to look after their son - and without hunting out references or asking too many questions they move her into the house and give her the job of looking after him - she seems a nice enough lady. Turns out however, that she lied about her name and is actually the wife of the doctor who commited suicide and blames Sciorra for the death of her husband and the subsequent miscarriage of her own child. Her aim is to tear apart this family from within in the same way that hers was torn apart a few months before...and she'll stop at nothing to see this happen... Its an interesting premise but not exactly an original one - I've seen it before in The Stepfather for instance and I'm sure there were a number of others before this one as well - there have certainly been more than a few since...John Travolta's 'Domestic Disturbance'(rubbish though it was) springs to mind straight away as being one of the more recent re-treads. The reason this movie excels above the rest in my eyes however is that, despite its numerous logical flaws, it does manage to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The star of the show is most definitely Rebecca de Mornay, and her performance is uniformly good with the most three dimensional of all the characters. Her switches from angel to demon in the blink of an eye are, not fright
nening(criticisms of this movie are that people were told it was scary - and its the wrong choice of wording), but certainly unnerving and more than a little unsettling. She isn't exactly an actress you could ever accuse of setting the world alight, probably her most noteworthy movie would be this one, or Backdraft, but she is certainly more than equal to this role. The other two main characters are somewhat more one dimensional, especially fuzzy-faced hubbie Matt McCoy who is the biggest drip you could ever imagine and with all he acting talent of a plank of 2 x 4. Fortunately all he is here for is to be wimpy and seduced by De Mornay and he isn't around too much other than in the background. A far more talented performer than the both of them is Anabella Sciorra, but I felt she was made to underplay her talents so as not to outshine De Mornay who is meant to be the focus of our attentions and hatred. Someone on the sidelines as a subplot is the retarded gardener and handyman in the family's employ played by Ernie Hudson who also falls foul to De Mornay's wicked plotting. Again a part well played and thankfully the message here is an uplifting one for the handicapped community rather than an exploitative one - so often the inclusion of a a character such as this smacks of exploitation or manipulation, but here the role played by Hudson is a key one. It would be wrong to say that this is a 5 star movie because it almost certainly isn't - its not clever enough for that. Areas of the plot are glossed over and we are asked to believe that parents really are this careless with their children in order for the movie to work. As an attack on yuppie culture, or upon changing family values where work seemingly comes above childcare then its also somewhat lightweight again by failing to address many of the underlying issues or lend a sympathetic ear to the pressure of modern life upon the parental side. These are two areas where I felt
a little more attention may have made have made for a better movie, but then perhaps that would have been asking too much. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is instead rather like a pulp novel - it'll keep your eyes alight and you fingers busy turning over the pages in your mind and you'll certainly find yourself creaping ever closer to the very edge of your seat, but ultimately it acheives this through being rather lightweight and dumbing down to encompass a larger audience, keeping up the pace by skimping over the wider issues. As pure entertainment though, its a damn good movie, much better than previous reviews here would have you believe and certainly one I would recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it before.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is a pretty lame film, but highly entertaining nonetheless. The plot is a fairly contorted affair, fortunately this means that there's plenty happening to keep you awake in the first half of the film. Mother to be Annabella Sciorra attends a prenatal check-up and is sexually abused by her consultant, Dr Mott. An enquiry into the incident leads the doctor to commit suicide and the impact of his death on his pregnant wife (heavily overacted by Rebecca De Mornay) causes her to miscarry. Mrs Mott blames Annabella for Dr Mott's suicide and - very reasonably I thought - sets about destroying her life and stealing her family. Annabella has by this time given birth to a son, and sets about hiring a nanny, and remarkably ends up giving the job to Mrs Mott, now heavily disguised and going by the name Peyton. The central problem I have with this film is the impossibility of feeling any sympathy at all for Annabella. I was on Peyton's side throughout, she was a much more appealing character. Annabella is lazy, ungrateful and a very bad mother. She is in the fortunate situation of having a husband whose job pays well enough to support the whole family. She could therefore enjoy the luxury of staying at home and raising her family, developing close bonds with her children. Does she do this? Of course not - as far as I could tell, she spends her whole time gardening, avoiding her children as much as possible and getting a nanny to look after them. Not admirable behaviour in my book. She is also one of those infuriating women - the kind that populate Australian soap operas - that jump to absurd conclusions without the merest shred of evidence to back up their claims. Cigarette lighter in husbands pocket? He's having an AFFAIR! Her husband has a pretty hard time throughout the film, working all day to support his irritating spouse who then makes ridiculous accusations about him. Later on he gets his hea
d smashed in with a spade and breaks his legs, poor thing. His unflinching devotion to his wife is astounding, far-fetched almost. The only other male character is Solomon, the retarded gardener. Solomon is retarded in the only way acceptable to Hollywood: he has a mild, endearing speech impediment and is gently backward. As you can see, the men come off pretty badly in this film. The portrayal of Peyton the psychotic nanny is far too unsubtle to be anything other than funny. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of her character is something that's just too hackneyed these days to be taken seriously. I think she'd have been far more sinister if her psychosis wasn't signposted so heavily. As the film progresses, she makes more and more extreme attempts to break up the family, with the intention of making of with the kids. The way the plot develops is ridiculous, but all the necessary ingredients for a psychological thriller crop up. A close friend stumbles across Peyton's true identity, but before she can alert the family, Peyton kills her with a greenhouse (seriously). When the truth is at last uncovered, we have a predictable chase around the house culminating in final confrontation and a fitting end for her. There is very little in this film that surprises, it is pretty run of the mill stuff, but that doesn't stop it from being highly watchable. Despite all its faults, I did quite enjoy The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, it reminds me in a way of the kind of TV movie that crops up on mid-afternoon Channel 5. I wouldn't recommend that you part with any cash at all for the pleasure of seeing it, don't even bother paying for video rental, but next time it comes up on the telly you might want to give it a watch.
My mum first told me about this film which she had seen on a transatlantic flight. She raved about it so much that I just went out and bought the video straight away. The story is this:- Claire Bartel is the wife with the perfect family, a beautiful daughter, a loving husband and a new baby on the way. All this changes when she goes to see her doctor, Dr Victor Mott. He examines her a little too thoroughly and she starts proceedings against him for misconduct. All this has a devastating effect on him, forcing him to take his own life. He leaves behind him his wife, who is also pregnant. She subsequently loses her longed for child in the aftermath of all this. Claire Bartel meanwhile gives birth to a lovely healthy baby boy and needs a nanny. Along comes the widowed Mrs Mott under the name Peyton Flanders. She has excellent references but starts to plot the downfall and breakup of this perfect family to avenge her husband's death. She tries to make Claire look like an unfit mother and an unfit wife. One of the ways she does this is to breast feed the new baby with her own milk which she had retained from her pregnancy. This means obviously that the baby will not feed and therefore not bond with it's true mother. There are lots of scary moments. De Mornay is so convincing as the lovely nanny but lets her guard down on occassion. The families handyman soon spies what she is doing as regards the breast feeding and she subsequently has him suspended on suspicion of child abuse of the Bartel's daughter, Emma. Being a retarded man, he doesn't stand a chance in defending himself. Eventually he saves the family when she finally loses the plot. Some powerful moments include De Mornay going mad in a public toilet and smashing it up with a plunger type thing before straightening her skirt and going merrily back to her 'normal' self. There are some very tense moments here, which
I don't want to spoil for those that have not seen it, but it's much more psychological than violent...one of the reason I was able to watch it as I don't like violent movies. It makes you gasp and sends chills through you at times. There is blood spilt, but it's never overdone. De Mornay is supberb, she has a lovely soft voice and appearance but is in fact slowly going insane. She even tells Claire that she believes her husband had been murdered, rather than admitting he had taken his own life. She seemed to always perceive Claire as the murderer. A must see, and highly recommended.
A friend, who's opinion I usually respect, saw this film at the cinema and raved to me that it was so thrilling etc. I can only assume we saw two different films. This has to be one of the biggest disappoints I've ever seen. Staring Rebecca de Mornay as Peyton Flanders, it follows the misplaced revenge of wife who targets her 'enemies' children by posing as a nanny. Her husband, a gynecologist, commits suicide after being accused of sexually molesting patients, the stress of which causes Peyton to miscarry. This film lacks some of the most basic criteria for a good thriller/suspense. All through the film we are given far too much information - rather like an episode of Columbo where we all know the killer before hand. Given this glut of information we are left with the action to cause suspense - and it doesn't. The action is heavy handed and poorly constructed which is a feat in itself given the protection of children is considered by most of us as an instinct, yet the film still fails to arouse much emotion. I certainly didn't find this film as chilling as many have described it. There are some glaring discrepencies which detract from the storyline. Firstly, that the mother of the family would be shown publicly in the media after making a complaint of molestation to the police. Secondly, that this intelligient woman would hire a nanny without checking any references; though why this family need a live in nanny is also a mystery. *spoiler follows* Usually, I try to steer clear of giving endings/storylines away but I will point out this particular scene as laughable. The end crescendo which sees de Mornay try to kill just about everyone in the house, is rather like a poor man's Fatal Attraction. One causality is the father - who ends up at the bottom of the basement stairs with two broken legs. Cue his wife finds him and sets out to save her family, ending with a confrontation in the attic.
Wife, handyman and children win, de Mornay is slain. Wife turns to children and says words to the effect of 'let's find where your father's gone' - you've just seen him with two broken legs in the basement - where do you think he's going to go??!! My first emotion of the film - I laughed. If you enjoy well crafted suspense thrillers I think you will find this film immensely disappointing. It is a film to fill time when you want to turn your mind off.
A potboiler featuring a demented caretaker and a seemingly hapless suburban family, this is The Nanny of the 1990s. However, it is much more predictable than that 1965 Bette Davis psychodrama, and more graphic. It works only because Rebecca De Mornay makes us intensely uncomfortable as the disturbed au pair who wants to take care of much more than her employer's well-being. Annabella Sciorra plays the perfect mother of a flawless family. Her obstetrician, however, is less than wonderful, having enjoyed her examination much more than he should have. When she files sexual harassment charges against the repugnant doctor, he loses face--literally--after shooting himself in the head. Several months later, an ideal nanny shows up at her home. You guessed it--she's the doc's widow. The movie follows a tried and trusted formula, with the audience in on everything. However, the story does surprise us in intense and intimate ways. The visit to the obstetrician is one of the creepiest moments in the film. You definitely hear the voice of writer Amanda Silver in a plot concerned with the vulnerabilities of a family, a newborn, a marriage. Since we know so much up front, there is an overall lack of inventiveness in the plot machinations. It may not jolt us, but De Mornay does. It's unsettling to watch someone who appears so attractive and who behaves so kindly suddenly reveal hideous psychopathic tendencies. Restraining herself from going over the top, she instead oozes such malevolence you'll want to shudder. --Rochelle O'Gorman