I’m trying to remember if Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway shared any scenes in Interstellar, because the trailer for Mother’s Instinct had me wondering how Chastain and Hathaway had never starred in a movie together before, then I remembered Interstellar, but I don’t think they have much, if any, screentime together.
They were also in James Gray’s Armageddon Time, but Jessica Chastain only had a glorified cameo in that. It’s like filmmakers had the instinct that Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain should be in a movie together, but keep missing the mark by not making them screen partners. Mother’s Instinct is here to fix that, pairing two of the best at portraying “anxious white ladies” in cinema—Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman would also make a good pairing—as leading ladies in a psychological thriller about mid-century moms melting down in the suburbs.
Mother’s Instinct is an English-language adaptation of the 2018 French film Duelles, which is itself an adaptation of Belgian author Barbara Abel’s novel, Behind the Hatred, which was retitled as Mother’s Instinct. It’s about two families that live next door to one another, raising their sons as de facto brothers, until one little boy dies. From there, it’s a question of what’s real, what’s paranoia, what’s grief, what’s rage.
Unfortunately, this trailer gives a lot away, it feels like basically the entire movie is encapsulated here. Fortunately, I will watch Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain engaged in a stress-off any day of the week, and every shot of them acting at each other is thrilling in its own right. There is also, maybe, a slight chance this film will veer into camp territory, there’s a vibe.
Mother’s Instinct doesn’t have a release date yet, but I am here for the cinematic Chastain-Hathaway showdown we so richly deserve.