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  • Writer's pictureJamie

Mother's Instinct - Review

Mother’s Instinct seemed to come out of nowhere for me, I saw a trailer pretty late and suddenly it was out for the world to see. This film is a remake of the 2018 Belgian film of the same name, Hollywood-ified with a star studded cast and an Americanisation of the material. It is impossible to fault either Anne Hathaway or Jessica Chastain in their performances, I think the film gets a little more lost in the tension and pacing. 

There is an aspect that almost feels hard to pin down about what doesn’t work about this film, I think it just lacks the spark to ignite intrigue in the story or characters that could have made it a really effective thriller. 

Alice (Jessica Chastain) and Celine (Anne Hathaway) are neighbours in 1950s suburbia, with giant houses and externally perfect lives where they socialise together and have the privilege of having their children be friends. This leads to the inciting incident of the film, wherein Celine’s son, Max falls from the balcony and dies. Celine and Alice lose touch as Celine blames Alice for his death, growing the distance and raising the tension between the women.

This is only heightened further when Celine begins to take a shine to Alice’s son, Theo, who she claims is helping her grieve, while Alice believes she is trying to get back at her. 

Looking at the story and reviewing the finale makes it seem like a good thriller.  Where it loses its steam is in the pacing of its action. We get very caught up in the foreboding of what’s to come, and then don’t get to enjoy the payoff of a lot of it because the film skims over a lot of revelations that come to the surface. 

I think without the help of Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, this film could have been a crash and burn. The magnetism and understanding that both actors bring to the film ground it in a really nice place to try and give you enough to sink your emotional hooks into If only they could have done it all themselves, but the writing really isn’t enough. 

The look of the film is really polished, with a strong 50s aesthetic being pushed and stuck to. The costuming is immaculate and the sets we’re in really help us as an audience settle into the time period and is interesting enough of a space to keep us within their two homes for most of the film. The camera work is pretty standard, showing the action with some soft movements and quite a lot of steady shots.

The film is one that I fear I will forget and only remember when niche film knowledge might be needed in ten years. It’s a shame to under utilise talent like on a script that doesn’t allow them to fully shine but I am hoping that what we do get inspires some more chances for them to work together in this thriller-esqe environment. 


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