YMMV / The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Claire laying out a haymaker on Peyton after discovering her secret. Mama Bear indeed.
    • Emma locking Peyton in the nursery, telling her, "You're not my mommy!" and trying to get Joey to safety.
  • Designated Hero: Claire can be this for some viewers. Mainly because she seems more interested in growing plants than wanting to spend time with her own children.
  • Evil is Sexy: Especially if it's Rebecca DeMornay.
  • Fridge Horror/Fridge Logic: Peyton isn't able to make Claire think Solomon's molesting Emma just because it's every parent's worst nightmare. It's also because what Dr. Mott did to her has made her extra paranoid. Which raises the icky possibility that she knew all along what kind of a sicko she was married to, but chose to turn a blind eye.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Seeing Claire being molested/taken advantage of by a more powerful man with an elevated status looks much worse since twenty-five years later, Annabella Sciorra would publicly accuse Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment/assault. Also, like with Claire/Annabella, several other women have come forward with accusations as well.
  • Hollywood Homely: No makeup or clothing is supposedly enough to make Annabella Sciorra the dowdy alternative to Rebecca DeMornay and Julianne Moore.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Peyton. Losing her baby may have made her a sociopath.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Peyton, who manipulates every situation with success until the very end. She's that smart, and Rebecca DeMornay manages to play her very convincingly.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Peyton crosses this when she frames Solomon for molesting Emma, causing him to get fired. And she just goes further from there...
  • Nightmare Fuel: Marlene's highly disturbing death.
    • Peyton going into premature labor, which is a mixture of this and Tear Jerker.
    • Anytime Claire's asthma flares up, particularly after she discovers Marlene's body, which got so bad, especially since Peyton cut her inhaler so she would suffocate without it, she had to be hospitalized and put on a respirator. More disturbing, the death trap was meant for her.
  • One-Scene Wonder: John de Lancie as Dr Mott.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A lot of viewers can't help but root for Peyton, mainly due to De Mornay's excellent and charismatic performance compared to the rather bland protagonists.
  • Tear Jerker: At one point, Solomon says that one thing he really wants is a blue bicycle, and the family give it to him to show that they consider him very much a part of the family. While this is quite sweet, it becomes absolutely heartbreaking when Peyton accuses him of and frames him for sexually abusing Emma... and we see a shot of Solomon just looking hurt and confused as his bike is taken away from him.
  • The Woobie: Solomon.