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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle 1992

After her humiliated husband kills himself, an embittered pregnant widow loses her child, and embarks on a mission of vengeance against a woman and her family...

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Solar rating: 7.9


Imdb rating: 6.5


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"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is the Hand That Rules the World."

This is the title of a popular poem by William Rose Wallace, and the theme of the film The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. The Bartel family has two children, and is expecting a third. Claire (Annabella Sciorra) goes to a new OBGYN, and feels she has been molested by him, so she brings a lawsuit against him (with other women who also feel they were molested by him). He kills himself, and leaves his pregnant wife (Rebecca De Mornay) alone. She ends up losing her child and has to have an emergency hysterectomy, which means she can no longer have children, either.

Meanwhile, the Bartels have a healthy baby boy, Joe, and settle into life comfortably. They decide to hire a nanny, and as you may guess, Mrs. Mott (now calling herself Peyton Flanders) gets the job and vows to harm the family.

The suspense in this film is lacking sometimes, but there's a few truly scary scenes (such as when family friend Marlene Craven, played by Julianne Moore, is killed in Claire's greenhouse). It builds up nicely, though, and is well-paced, but the ending falls flat. It's less dramatic than what you were expecting, and what you were hoping for. It could have been much better, I believe, than it ended up being.

A very bright spot in the film is Madeline Zima, who plays Emma, Michael and Claire's oldest daughter. This was her first film role, and she goes on, as many know, to play Gracie on The Nanny. She's young and vibrant and so obviously talented, it's a pleasure to watch her.

The Door in the Floor (Tod Williams, 2004)

Jeff Bridges nearly holds together this dark and dreary adaptation of John Irving's A Widow for One Year. The comedic moments, few and far between though they are, actually work better than the sometimes ponderous drama of the young summer assistant's affair with the emotionally catatonic wife of his writer-hero. It's mostly Bridges' yeoman effort that makes you want to appreciate the film for what it tries to accomplish, even if its reach does exceed its grasp.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (Curtis Hanson, 1992)

This never really rises above the level of a cheap thriller, riffing on the "stranger in our midst" theme. Practically the definition of mediocre, down to the disabled black handyman who is misunderstood but proves his worth in the end.

Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

Billy Wilder has a couple of superior films, including one I'll review/admire shortly, but this is his film noir classic, worthy of its own fired-up accolades. After all, any film that can turn an insurance term into a code for suspense must have something going for it. Well, lots of things, like Wilder, who nails the noir genre with his subtle understanding of blacks and whites; Raymond Chandler, who (with Wilder's help) turns James M. Cain's novel into a tight thriller with crisp dialogue; a fuckin' A-cast led by Fred MacMurray turning blandness into an asset as the dope who thinks he can make a big score even though he should know all the odds are against him and Barbara Stanwyck showing that classic beauty isn't always what's needed to turn a man down a dark path. And not least Edward G. Robinson, who gets a whole sentence of his own because he's that damn good.

My Fair Lady (George Cukor, 1964)

Okay, Audrey Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle really did get on my nerves in the first half of this film, what with all the screeching-maybe this was the only way to sympathize with Henry Higgins. But as musicals go, this has some terrific set pieces (none more so than the scene at the Ascor races) and Rex Harrison is, well, he's so deliciously evil. (All that Family Guy watching really stacked the deck for this movie.) If I say I was delighted, does that make me gay?
Comments pending.


The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
The hand that rocks the cradle

I've seen this movie a time ago but I still remember how good it was;). The story begins with a woman that accuses her gynecologist of abuse while she was in a consult. The man gets so stressed that he commits suicide and his wife gets crazy. A time later she changes her identity and becomes the nanny of the family that had accused her husband, so she looks for revenge.

The nanny tries to separate the children's mother from them and takes care 100% of the time of the baby, giving him her own milk, so that the baby hated to be with his mother. At first the parents didn't take this to important, but then their kids begin to be kind of scared with the nanny and they start to suspect that something was wrong. I've loved the acting and the excellent story of this movie.

THE HIGHLIGHT: the excellent plot
SHOULD YOU WATCH IT?: Yes, of course;)

Starring: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson, and Julianne Moore.
Directed by Curtis Hanson.
Written by Amanda Silver.
Rated R (for violence, sexuality and language).
Running time approximately 1 houe 50 minutes.

Possibly Curtis Hanson's worst film, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is exactly the sort of 90s goofball thriller I've come to despise. I imagine the film wishes to remind one of the success of 80s slasher films, or even that of Jagged Edge, a lovely sex-thriller from 1985, but it fails. The cast is horrid, Rebecca De Mornay's overacting needs to go away, and the ending is so over the top I was laughing hysterically. *1/2 (out of ****) D+
I enjoyed this movie more than I expected to. There were times when I was really able to get into it, but there were also a couple points where I was reminded that this was, in fact, just a movie. The acting was pretty solid too, and I liked the way the husband was portrayed throughout.
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