• Publication date: March 26, 2009

A Woman Scorned Hand That Rocks The Cradle Holds The Strings

Director Curtis Hansom crafts this psychodrama thriller with meticulous attention to his characters' details, and great suspense , partly due to the moving and powerful script by Amanda Silver. "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" has been hailed by critics for its strong cast and solid performances .

Director Curtis Hansom crafts this psychodrama thriller with meticulous attention to his characters' details, and great suspense, partly due to the moving and powerful script by Amanda Silver. "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" has been hailed by critics for its strong cast and solid performances.

The tale starts with tragedy; as though Dr. Victor Mott [John DeLancie] is known to be a respected and successful gynecologist, both his respect and success come to a crashing halt when he is accused of sexually molesting his patients. Dr. Mott touches Claire Bartel [Annabella Sciorra] inappropriately during an exam, and Claire resolves to file a report against him. Once Claire comes forward, four other women corroborate the story and also accuse the doctor. Stripped of his license and on the verge of being tried and sent to jail for betraying his ethics code, Dr. Mott commits suicide.

Devastated, Dr. Mott's now-widowed wife [Rebecca De Mornay] suffers a miscarriage, losing her unborn baby as well. Mrs. Mott seems to be on the verge of losing her home to civil prosecutors moving against her husband's estate. Broken, alone and now near-penniless, Mrs. Mott learns that Claire is on the look-out for a nanny to care for her own young children. Determined to have both a child and revenge, Mrs. Mott [De Mornay], poses as the near-perfect heaven-sent nanny Peyton Flanders, and is eventually hired by Claire and her husband Michael [Matt McCoy], to care for their young daughter, Emma [Madeline Zima], and their newborn son.

Seemingly sweet and helpful, the 'angelic' Peyton slowly infiltrates the family's world. Once she has gained their trust, she begins to wreak havoc in their lives. For starters she gets Claire to start doubting her husband's fidelity. The next step is to get Claire to start questioning her own abilities as a mother, and from there Peyton will move parameters so fast to soon have Claire questioning virtually every aspect of her life-- including her sanity.

De Mornay is a delicious villain, sweet to excess in front of the family but positively venomous when plotting and executing her revenge as Mrs. Mott [Peyton] deliberately tries to ruin Claire's life and replace her as a wife and loving mother. With 5 wins and 5 nominations, including winning the 1993 ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Film, "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" is not to be missed. Rated R for terror, violence, a scene of sexual molestation, and language the film runs for a total screen-time of 110 minutes.