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The Hand That Rocks The Cradle [DVD] 
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Claire (Annabella Sciorra) and Michael are a perfect couple who employ the perfect nanny, Peyton (Rebecca De Mornay), for their perfect, new baby. However, as soon as she joins the household, dramas begin. The faithful handyman falls under suspicion for sexually abusing their daughter and Claire suspects Michael is having an affair with their friend Marlene (Julianne Moore). When incidents turn fatal, they begin to realise Peyton may not be as angelic as she looks.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
So what a wonderful surprise it was to see her in this remarkable role. Not a particularly original plot - crazed woman seeks revenge on family - but De Mornay plays it to perfection: unsettling in the extreme; calculating; charming on the outside, burning with rage on the inside. I genuinely felt at the time it was Oscar-worthy and still do. And yet despite all the increasingly appalling acts she perpetrates in an attempt to destroy the family she is supposed to be serving, we still feel some sympathy for her deranged character. There are comparisons with Kathy Bates' startling turn in Misery although it would be folly to suggest De Mornay's portrayal is in quite that league. However it is extremely effective. The scene where she deals with the school bully is both shocking and amusing in equal measure, while her systematic attempts at undermining her employer, superbly played by Anabella Sciorra, are ingenious and chilling.
Some scenes are extremely uncomfortable - most notably the one with the charming but perverted gynaecologist (De Mornay's husband) at the start of the film. No woman can fail to react with anything but horror to this.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this dvd for my teenage grandchildren as I really loved the film. They do too.Published 1 month ago by christine