Mothers' Instinct (2018) Poster

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8/10
Keeps you on the edge of your seat
rubenm1 May 2019
When a mother loses a young child after a fatal accident, the first thing she does is reproach herself. Céline, one of the two leads in 'Duelles', is no exception. Why did she leave her son alone in a room with an open window? Why hasn't she been more careful? But in this case, she also reproaches her neighbour Alice. She thinks Alice could have prevented the accident. The two neighbours, who are also close friends, start to distrust each other and soon things are getting out of hand.

'Duelles' is a very effective psychological thriller, cleverly creating doubt in the minds of the audience. Alice thinks Céline somehow wants to take revenge. But isn't she imagining things? At one point, even her husband starts thinking she is going nuts. Is she right or is she wrong? Until the very end, the viewer remains in doubt. But when the answer finally comes, it is extremely spectacular.

The very clever screenplay is the outstanding feature of this Belgian film. But it is not the only one. The acting by the two leading ladies is excellent. Both switch from being self-assured and even glamorous to vulnerable and heart-broken. The period setting is another nice feature of this film. It is set in the early sixties, with a lot of attention to details. House decoration, clothing, hairdo's and cars: everything is a joy to watch. The lush cinematography accentuates it all. And the icing on the cake is the exceptionally effective soundtrack, which is perfect in supporting the increasing feeling of unease.

This is a very beautiful film to look at, which keeps you permanently on the edge of your seat. It deserves a large audience. To be honest, I was surprised by the relatively low IMDb-rating and the small number of reviews. I can only recommend it.
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7/10
An irrational and cold corrida between two female friends
FrenchEddieFelson3 May 2019
In the 60s, two families live in two terraced houses in the upper-crust Brussels suburbs. A kind of a dolce vita in Belgium. Consecutively to a tragic accident, the film flips all of a sudden, and the atmosphere becomes desperately angsty with a vertiginous spiral towards the depths of the abyss: loss of confidence, need of revenge, paranoia and tutti quanti. The main character is Alice played by the delicious Veerle Baetens already seen in The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix van Groeningen, 2012) and the manifold plot twists are focused on this specific character.

The cast is excellent, especially the 2 main actresses Veerle Baetens and Anne Coesens, without forgetting the child Jules Lefebvre. The sets are very realistic. Photography is neat and the sense of detail is boosted to the extreme, up to the hairstyles.
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7/10
Disquieting psychological thriller
gridoon202118 September 2019
This very well-made, very well-acted little thriller is reminiscent of Brian De Palma at his prime, except it's less flashy and more psychologically sound. Olivier Masset Depasse successfully maintains the ambiguity around Alice (is she losing her grip on reality, or is she sensing the truth?), and the ending is unexpectedly bleak and disturbing. This movie sends you out a little shaken. *** out of 4.
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9/10
Excellent
yarra196613 June 2020
If Alfred Hitchcock was alive and well and making movies in France, this would be the sort of thing he'd be doing. And my hat is off to Olivier Masset-Depasse for adding his own sinister touch to it. Under his direction, all of the actors are outstanding--which is important because in the wrong hands the story could have turned out like a Lifetime movie. But I was truly on the edge of my seat for much of this.
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8/10
cleverly spun psychological thriller
myriamlenys10 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Two very similar families living in an idyllic suburb are neighbours and friends. One day the mother of one of the families witnesses the small son of her neighbour taking an unreasonable risk. Although she reacts with commendable speed and enterprise, as any responsible citizen would, she cannot save the child. The accidental death of the little boy is about to start a spiral of fear, envy and resentment...

Unless I'm very much mistaken this movie is based on a book by Barbara Abel, a French-speaking Belgian specialized in thrillers and "polars". Blushing profoundly, I've got to admit I never read any of her work. Still, watching the movie one recognizes a well-plotted intrigue plus a convincing atmosphere of dread and despair. I was somewhat reminded of the work of Ruth Rendell, another author capable of conjuring up the psychological horrors hiding behind well-kept gardens and leafy suburbs.

There are many things to like, such as the good acting by all of the protagonists. In my humble opinion the first half of the movie is better than the second half, but still : a very watchable effort. At least one scene chills to the bone, to wit a scene where a child attends the funeral of his friend and discovers, with a great deal of spontaneous indignation, that his own cuddly toy animal is lying in the coffin, next to the deceased. Memorable stuff...
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9/10
More endings like this please...
reynaglynn10 November 2019
Not a boring movie, will keep you hooked, and the ending was pretty cool.. won't disappoint like most other movies do nowadays
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10/10
Really better cliffhanger than a Hitchcock's movie
Aatchoum23 February 2020
And difficult to understand marks beneath 8. Maybe tired and drowsy spectators.
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