The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Review

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Peyton Flanders seemed to be the perfect nanny, but secretly she was out to wreck the lives of the family she was supposed to be helping...


The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Certainly hits a nerve. Curtis Hanson's post-modern morality tale is a sure-footed combination of unerring commercial touch, a central storyline that strikes at — shamelessly exploits, some will say — the most basic human fears within us all, and, most impressively, two hugely enjoyable per¬formances from its pair of leading ladies.

The back-from-the-dumper De Mornay is the oddly-named Peyton Flanders, the psycho-nanny from hell out to destroy the happily married Claire Bartel (Sciorra), after the said Mrs. Bartel has effectively destroyed her own marriage some years before.

Being a thoroughly modern kind of gal, however, Peyton comes armed not with a knife but with a nanny's outfit, eventually infiltrating the Bartel nest in the guise of Little Miss Goody Two Shoes, an illusion shattered forever with the memorable image of De Mornay breastfeeding the brat.

From here in, it's Peyton vs. Claire to the death, with useless hubby McCoy stuck in the background, and only good old racial stereotype Solomon (Hudson) and his trusty old bike of any use in an emergency situation, of which there are, of course, plenty.

And that's about it, really, except it's all done in a suitably stylish way from the man who directed Bad Influence and 8 mile, and it's really quite frightening in a “It’s Behind You” kind of way, and not a little disturbing, one imagines, for parents of small babies everywhere

A unexpected pleasure to watch, disturbing for new parents, slightly silly but ever so enjoyable.