Mothers’ Instinct

Verdict: Mothers' Instinct is tight, gripping film that reminds us why '90s-style mid-budget thrillers used to be so popular.

  • Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Josh Charles
  • March 27th 2024
  • Benoit Delhomme

Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway play close neighbours whose bond is irretrievably broken after a tragedy.

Interstellar and Armageddon Time co-stars Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway have reunited once again for this psychological thriller.

Mothers’ Instinct, a remake of the 2018 French film of the same name, follows 1960s housewives and neighbours Céline (Hathaway) and Alice (Chastain).

They are so close they are practically family – their sons are best friends at school and their husbands Damian (Josh Charles) and Simon (Anders Danielsen Lie) get along like a house on fire.

This seemingly perfect suburban life is upended by a tragedy, which sparks feelings of guilt, suspicion and paranoia that slowly ruin the friendship.

Alice becomes determined to find proof to confirm her suspicion that her former friend is trying to hurt her family.

Simon brushes off her claims, insisting she is mentally unwell again. But is Alice paranoid or does she have a real reason to be scared of Céline?

Mothers’ Instinct keeps you guessing about that question for a while. Alice’s concerns start small but they build and build, leading to a palpable tension between the two women.

Everything is revealed in the wild edge-of-your-seat final act, which is dramatic, thrilling and nail-biting.

Unfortunately, the story goes a bit too far and becomes rather far-fetched, presenting us with an ending ripped right out of a soap opera.

Some might approve of its audaciousness, while others might lose respect over the ridiculousness of the narrative.

The performances cannot be faulted though. Chastain is spot-on as a ’60s housewife who has to maintain a facade of perfection on the surface, even when everything is crumbling beneath her.

Hathaway has a more complex role and one that could have been handled poorly in less experienced hands but she balances the different layers of Céline well.

Mothers’ Instinct is tight, gripping film that flies by at only 94 minutes. It reminds us why ’90s-style mid-budget thrillers used to be so popular and why they should make a comeback.

In cinemas from Wednesday 27th March.

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