The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992)
Reviewed on 2007 February 4
If you can get past the unlikelihood of a postpartum woman, even one as pretty as Annabella Sciorra, letting a nanny that looked like Rebecca De Mornay stay under the same roof as her husband, this is a pretty good flick. I had one friend that said I was cynical, but since she looks more like a De Mornay type, but with better hair and green eyes, I’m sticking by my story.
Claire Bartel (Sciorra) and her soft-hearted, hard-bodied husband Michael (Matt McCoy) have an amazing house with a greenhouse that they share with their adorable daughter Emma (Madeline Zima) and another little Bartel on the way. They decide to get a nanny to help Claire, who despite bad asthma does volunteer work and gardens and lots of other yuppie things. One day she goes for a checkup to Dr. Mott (John De Lancie at his slimy best), a disgusting OB/GYN who deserves the sexual assault charges Claire levies against him. This sets up a catastrophic chain of events for his wife (De Mornay), who sees Claire as the cause of all her suffering. She’ll show that do-gooder! She’s already pretty crazy at this point, and when shows up on the Bartels’ doorstep their snug suburban blissfulness makes her head completely explode. Michael and Claire buy her innocent lamb act as sweet Peyton Flanders, hire her as a nanny, and she starts exacting her revenge.
This movie is as predictable — and enjoyable — as an Oreo® cookie. It strains credibility in a lot of places, the biggest being any married woman housing a nanny that looks like Miss Sweden instead of Mrs. Doubtfire. I’ve also seen people take longer to choose a frozen pizza than the Bartels did to hire Peyton. It’s nothing fancy or substantial, but it’s fun. I also really enjoyed Julianne Moore as Marlene Craven, Claire’s tough, cigarette-chomping buddy that sees through Peyton from the very beginning.
Two chocolate morsels and a cup of organic, free-trade, herbal tea, brewed through a bleach-free bag and served in a cup your kid made for you.