Mothers’ Instinct Review

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Anders Danielsen Lie, Josh Charles, Eamon O’Connell, Baylen D. Bielitz, Caroline Lagerfelt

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Director: Benoît Delhomme

In Cinemas: 27th March 2024


“Mothers’ Instinct” delves into the intricate web of maternal love, guilt, and paranoia, unfolding a gripping narrative against the backdrop of 1960s suburbia. Starring Academy Award® winners Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway, the film explores the evolving dynamics between two best friends whose lives are shattered by a tragic accident involving one of their children. As Alice (Chastain) and Céline (Hathaway) navigate the aftermath, their sisterly bond is gradually undermined, revealing the darker complexities of maternal instincts. Director Benoît Delhomme, known for his work on acclaimed films like “The Theory of Everything” and “A Most Wanted Man,” makes his directorial debut with “Mothers’ Instinct.” From the outset, the film impresses with its meticulous attention to detail and aesthetic finesse. The production and set design transport viewers to the bygone era of the 1960s, capturing the essence of suburban life with authenticity. However, while visually stunning, the insistence on maintaining a nostalgic aesthetic occasionally detracts from the narrative, creating a distraction that hampers the storytelling.

The powerhouse performances delivered by Hathaway and Chastain are central to the film’s success. Their portrayal of Alice and Céline, respectively, is mesmerising, imbuing their characters with depth, vulnerability, and nuance. The palpable chemistry between the two leads elevates the film, drawing viewers into their tumultuous journey of guilt and paranoia. However, their stellar performances also highlight some of the weaker aspects of the plot, creating an uneven balance that leaves certain elements feeling overshadowed. As the narrative unfolds, “Mothers’ Instinct” delves into the complexities of maternal love, exploring how a mother will go to protect her child. The escalating tension between Alice and Céline is the crux of the story, as their once unbreakable bond is tested by guilt, suspicion, and betrayal. Anders Danielsen Lie and Josh Charles deliver solid supporting performances, adding layers to the intricate relationships that drive the narrative forward.


While the film’s thematic exploration is compelling, it’s pacing occasionally falters, with certain scenes feeling drawn out or unnecessary. The decision to set the story in the 1960s, while adding a layer of nostalgia, sometimes feels like a deliberate attempt to evoke a specific era rather than serving a narrative purpose. This focus on maintaining a period aesthetic may alienate some viewers, detracting from the story’s overall impact. Despite its flaws, “Mothers’ Instinct” remains a captivating exploration of the darker facets of maternal love. Hathaway and Chastain’s exceptional performances anchor the film, drawing viewers into a world fraught with tension and intrigue.


Director Benoît Delhomme demonstrates a keen eye for visual storytelling, creating a cinematic experience that is as visually striking as it is emotionally resonant. In conclusion, “Mothers’ Instinct” is a thought-provoking film that explores the complexities of maternal instincts with depth and nuance. While its visual aesthetic and powerhouse performances are commendable, confident narrative choices and pacing issues prevent it from reaching its full potential. Nonetheless, it remains a compelling addition to the cinematic landscape, offering audiences a glimpse into the darker side of motherhood.

Overall: 6/10

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