Mothers' Instinct (2018) - full transcript

When a sudden tragedy uproots the lives of two women and their families, they begin to question the relationships they once held so dear, in this psychological thriller from Olivier Masset-Depass



Hello, Céline.


He was a little man

He had a funny house

He had a funny little house

A house made of paper


Pirouette, peanut butter

A house made of cardboard

With stairs made of paper

Stairs made of paper

If you want to climb them

Pirouette, peanut butter...


Look Théo, Popeye's here.

Come on.

Are you thirsty?

Here's water.

He's loving it.

Good, isn't it, Popeye?

Who shut the curtains?

Happy birthday!

You cow...

You know I hate that.


- Where were you?
- New York.

You must have rushed.

Still in uniform.

- Happy birthday, Mum.
- Thank you, sweetheart.

Your mum's worked hard.

Sly devil...

Grannie Jeanne, you too!

Who bakes better cakes?

Let's play.

Your wife's incorrigible.

She can't help it.


Thank you.

Attention, please.

Excuse me.

From all of us.

Thank you.


Like it?

It's beautiful.

- Thank you.
- Try it on?

Turn around.

- Well?
- Like it?

- I love it.
- Sure?



- May I borrow it?
- I don't think so.

Grannie Jeanne, are you ok?

Yes, I'm fine.

You're taking your pills
with champagne?

It'll perk my old ticker up.

Let's go outside.

Don't tell Simon.

He'll only yell.

- No, I won't.
- Promise?


Excuse me. I'll be right back.



Where are they?

Alice, what's wrong?

The boys had Maxime's cookies.

- Théo knows he can't eat any.
- He's 7.

He dreams of trying one.

No cake for them!

We're here!

- What's this?
- Our secret passage.

And the cookies?

Back there.

Théo, did you eat any?

No, I'm allergic.

Didn't you hear me call?

When I call, you answer, ok?

Look at me! Ok?

"Yes, Mum!"

Yes, Mum.


I was scared.

Help Grannie with the cake.

Put the candles on it, ok?

Did he have any?

No, but one could kill him.

I know.

But you see you can trust him.

- I'm a terrible mother.
- No.

You're a wonderful mother.

And a wonderful friend.

- Let's join the party.
- Yes.

You knew their passage?


Work hard at school.

Climb in.

Your schoolbag.

Have a good day.

Where's Maxime?

I'll go and see.

Sorry. Maxime isn't well.

- He has a fever. He'll stay here.
- Poor thing.

- Called a doctor?
- He's coming.

- Maxime isn't coming?
- No.

Let's go, son.
Close your window.

All the best!

Popeye, come here!


Don't do that!
Go back in!

Go back inside!

That's very dangerous!

Is your mum there?

Popeye is stuck.




- Alice?
- Maxime climbed out!



Is he ok?


Is he ok?


Can we see Céline?

The family will be here soon.

We need time together.

Ok. I understand.

She's in our thoughts.

You both are.

We're here.

Thank you.


Thank you.


Yesterday, when you were at school...

Maxime was sick.

Well, he had...


Maxime had a serious accident.

He's dead.

Know what that means?

He'll go in a hole
and we won't see him again?


Want to stay home today?

Can I play with my cars?


Isn't his lack of reaction odd?

He's just dazed.

Give him a little time.

Have a good day.

- See you later.
- Yes.


- Are you sad?
- Yes.

And where's Popeye?

I don't know.

Probably hiding in the garden.

And where's Maxime?

He's at the hospital.

We'll have to bury him?


Will he go to heaven with the angels?

I hope so.


What are you doing?

Come back right now.

Hurry up.

Don't go through there again.
Look at you.

Get washed and changed.


What's going on?

Are you avoiding me?

You had to watch him.

You had to stay with him.

He wouldn't listen.

I told him to stop.
I couldn't wait for him to fall.

I had to warn you.


really, I did all I...

It wasn't enough.

I should've stayed with him.

She's still in shock.

I should've stayed with him.

It's not your fault.

I left my bunny at Maxime's.

What do you mean?

In Céline's garden.

Fetch him.

Not now, son.
We'll go tomorrow.

- I can't sleep without him.
- You can.

Want to stay with us?

- All right. Come on.
- You're crying?

No, sweetheart.

I'm not crying.

Cuddle up to Mummy.


your mother Mary
was at the foot of your cross

and she was losing her child.

Remember her grief

and observe ours.

May Maxime's short life

continue within you, Lord.

May his grace and your prayer

give us the strength to live.


It's hard for my wife
to speak before you today.

But she shares these words with me.


My boy...

It wasn't easy getting you

and you've left so soon.

You changed us and made us better.

I saw my wife blossom into a mother.


you awoke in me...

You awoke in me a love
stronger than I ever imagined.

You may now pay your respects to Maxime.

Want to say goodbye to him?

You can say goodbye now.

My bunny...

What are you doing?

- He's my bunny.
- So?

- He's mine!
- What is it?

He's mine!

He's my bunny.

He's mine!

He's mine!

He's mine!

He's my bunny!

He's mine!

Get in!

D'you realize what you did?

Your best friend's funeral!


He's my bunny!

That'll do!

Calm down.

He misbehaved, but it is his bunny.

Céline knows,

so why did she do it?

Are you ok, sweetheart?


Céline, you're here?

How's baby doing?

Excuse me, I have to find Antoine.



- Here for the show?
- I wouldn't miss it for anything.

Come on,
I have something for you.

What is it?


- Here.
- Thank you.

I'm sorry I left it with Maxime.

I wanted him to go
with something of yours.


Get ready for the show.


That's nice.


Sorry, we have to go.

Of course.

Pirouette, peanut butter

There was a little man

He had a funny house

He had a funny little house

Thank you.

Feeling better?

Why add more pain?

We'd rehearsed that song so often

with Théo and Maxime.

I had to be here.

I really regret what I said.

It hurt too much,
being the only one responsible.

It was an accident.

I know nothing will be like before.

But, please...

You have to forgive me.

I need you.

You're like a sister for me.

You should go.

You'll miss the start.

Tell me about it?

Of course.

Good evening!

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

It's for dessert.

Come on in.

Sit down, I'll fetch Damien.

Sit down.

No, wait.

Just one carrot.

Come on, sit down.

I said no!

Théo, for you.

Damien's sorry.

He isn't well and needs to lie down.

Let's postpone until he's better.

Don't go. Dinner's ready.

It's fine
if you two want to be alone.


Can I play with Popeye?

He's with another family.

He was Maxime's.
Why didn't I get him?

Théo, that's enough.

Carry on playing.

- Sorry.
- It's ok.

It's only natural.

So, how was the show?


It was wonderful.

Very good.

A great job this year.

The new music teacher is good.

Modern and refreshing.

Not too refreshing, I hope.

Just enough.

And how was Théo?


He sang well, thanks to you.

Sorry, I...

Do you miss him?

Do you, Alice?

Do you miss him?


Very much.

- Another drink?
- Yes, please.

Come on, son.

Can you manage?

I'll put him to bed.


I'll leave you.

Thank you, Céline.

We've had a lovely evening.

It was good to see you.

Thank you.

To our reconciliation.

Want one?


He blames me.

He doesn't say so.

But I sense it when I meet his gaze.

He holds me responsible.

You're not responsible, ok?

I feel I'm going mad.

Guilt can drive you mad.

When I lost my parents...

I know you can't compare it, but...

I felt so guilty.

Why couldn't I...

have saved them?

That's when...

the craziness began.

Simon took me to see a psychiatrist.

He helped.

The grief remains.

But he got rid

of the overwhelming guilt.

What guilt, Alice?

They had a car crash.
You were asleep in the back.

It's not the same.

I left my son unsupervised.

Your shrink can't help me.

You must both get help.

You must go on together,
you and Damien.

Maxime would want that.

Come on.

Hi there.

How are you?
Can he come for tea?

I have a surprise.

Please, Mum...

Damien's out.

Mum, I want to.

Just for an hour.

You have homework.

Leave your bag.

Thank you.

- How was school?
- What's the surprise?

You'll see.


What're you doing?

Go back in!

Go on!


What's wrong?

You leave my son
by that open window!

I'm here.
We're sorting Maxime's toys.


She's giving me all his toys.

Sorry we scared you.

We'll come down.

The look in her eyes...

You should've seen it.

She still blames me, I know.

I hear what you say, Alice.

I hear Théo too.

Really? And?

He had a good time.

Sure. She used him.

She recreated the situation to test me.

The window was open
for his bubbles.

Listen, Simon.

I got through the hedge.

For her, I could've saved Maxime.

She wants revenge. On Théo.

On our son.

That woman scares me.

She scares me.

It's not her who scares me.

You don't believe me?

First, we had to help her,

now she's Satan.

I have a bad feeling.

Who wants cake?


Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday, dear Théo

Happy birthday to you

Go on, blow them out!

Make a wish!

- Whose birthday is it?
- Théo's!

- What shall we play?
- Pirates!

Treasure hunt time.

Your tea.

Thank you, dear.

Seven treasures to find
around the garden.

Let's find them.
Put them all in Théo's bag.

Let's go!

Found one!

I know Théo wanted you here.

But children aren't always right.

Believe me,

it helps me a lot being here.

- Over here.
- Got one.

I'm fond of you.

I pray every day for Maxime, but...

This may not be the best solution.

For you, or for my family.

Your family?

Aren't I almost part of it?

All set?

The Valley of the Kings now!

It's down the street!

Come on, let's go!


You keep avoiding me.
Please tell me what's wrong.

Did you put Théo at the window
to test me?


You really think I could do that?


- Why do this to me?
- Sorry.

- I'm doing my best.
- I know.

I feel bad I got there for Théo
but not for Maxime.

I'm so sorry.

I understand.

Forgive me.

I forgot the tray.

Jeanne, are you ok?

Not that great.

Lie down in the spare room.

No, I'd rather go home if possible.

All right.

Alice, go on.
I'll tidy up here.

- You're sure?
- Yes.

Ok, thanks.

Come on then.

Can you manage?

What's wrong, Grannie Jeanne?

- Stop, please.
- Of course.

Wait, let me help.

Where are you going? Jeanne!

What are you doing?

What's wrong? Stop, Jeanne!

What's wrong?

I'm here.

- Here, doctor.
- Thank you.

How are you feeling?

You've no idea.

And you?

They gave me a sedative.

What about Théo?

I didn't tell him.
He's with Céline.

I should get back.

What are you doing?

Mr Brunelle...

May I disturb you

to deal with a few formalities?

Can my wife handle them?

Yes, with your agreement.

You have it.

This way, please.

Please, have a seat.

I need you to fill out this form.

Doctor, I don't understand.

How did she have a coronary
if she took her pills regularly?

Anything can happen at that age.


But the pills did work, didn't they?

Yes, they're the best ones around.

My husband would like an autopsy.

An autopsy?

He'd like to understand.

- Is he asleep?
- Yes. Thank you.

Are you holding up?

If you need me, call me.

- Good night.
- Be brave.

- Thanks again.
- You're welcome.

We're both orphans now.

- Mr Brunelle isn't here?
- He isn't well.

I don't understand this.

You said
she always took her pills?


Her doctor confirmed her medication.

But there's no trace of it in her blood.


She never took her pills.

Or only in front of you.

A few snacks.

No. They're not for you.

There are peanuts.
You have carrots.

I don't want carrots.

So take a look in the kitchen.

No, stay here.
We'll be eating soon.

Dad, I'm starving.

Sorry, I didn't want to burn him.


let him go.

I didn't mean to contradict you.

It's ok.

Have I upset you?


I can tell.

It's ok!

Sorry, I...

Let me propose a toast.

I'm tired.

To great friends like you.

Thank you for everything.

What's wrong?

Breathe out. Breathe out!

Go on, breathe.

I'm here, it's ok.

Breathe out now. Go on.


A doctor! Quick!


How's Théo?

What are you doing here?

Why are you here?

You want to kill my son?

You want to get revenge?
You do!

You still blame me for Maxime!

She still blames me for Maxime!

She blames me!

Stop this!


- Leave us.
- We're going.

Why did she have those cookies?

The only kid
who enters that house is Théo!

- I sent him into the kitchen.
- No!

It was her.
She told him to find something.

Look at you, Alice.

You're raving.

She manipulates people so well.

You can't even see it!

Why did Théo eat them
when he knows what they do?

Know what caused your mum's coronary?
I can tell you.

We'd see Jeanne take her pills.

She stuck to the prescription, right?


So how is it possible
the autopsy says the opposite?


What autopsy?

Céline swapped the pills
for a placebo

and that caused the coronary
that killed your mother!

- You had an autopsy done?
- Yes!

I was sure something wasn't normal.

And I was right.

If I had the box,

we'd get the pills tested to prove it.

But Céline stole them.

You're saying

Céline stole my mum's pills
from our house?

They were in my bedside drawer.

The next day, they'd gone.

Who can get in

apart from someone with the keys?

It's her.

Where are we going?

Simon, you're hurting me!

Are you looking for these?

Is this the box Céline stole?

I found it between the seats today.

- Impossible.
- It's true, Alice.


- It's true!
- She put it there.

You've been raving for weeks.


You're losing touch with reality.

Our son's in intensive care.

Nothing else matters!

It's not possible...

I know I put them
in the drawer.

I found them in the car.
It's not possible...

Thank you.

Are you ok, sweetheart?

Do you feel better?

Are you ok, son?

What happened?

Why did you eat the cookies?

You knew what could happen.

Hello, ma'am. Hello, sir.

I'm Dr Servais.
I looked after Théo.

Everything's back to normal.

We neutralized the allergic reaction,
so no need to worry.

Thank you.

Is he asleep?


I want to move house.

I want you to get help.

I'll fix an appointment tomorrow.

How could you do that to my mother?


I'm ashamed.

Really I am.

Forgive me,
but I did it for her sake.

I should have you committed!

There's a present!


Who from?

"For Théo, from Céline."

Mum, what are you doing?

What are you doing?


Keep your poisoned gifts!


Théo, where are you?

Alice? What's going on?

Where's my son?

How should I know?

I know he's here.

You want to search the house?

Stop it!

Enough of your paranoia.

Get down.


Stop fighting cos of me.

- We don't.
- You do!


Your mum's right.

Since Maxime went, I make mistakes.

Like keeping cookies you could find.

It's my fault, not yours.

Your mum's right to worry, Théo, ok?

Do you hear me, Théo?


It's not your fault.


I'll get help.

Forgive me, my love.

I've found a house to rent.

A colleague's leaving.

We move in two weeks.

It's best for Théo.


Thank you.

I lost control.


How could I do that to you?

I blamed you for Maxime.


We reacted as we could.

What you did for Théo is...

How can I ever...

There's no need.

We'll manage it.

It won't destroy us.

We've decided to leave.

We move in two weeks.

Théo can't live here.
Too much has happened.

You're right.

It's Théo who matters most.

We won't be far away.

I won't abandon you again.

I promise.

I feel so alone.

I know.

I know.

They're moving.

You look pleased.

What did you expect?

Want to keep begging for their son?

I don't understand you.

How did you forget my son so fast?

Our son.

Our son.

Leave Simon and Alice be.

And I don't want that boy here again.


I want another child with you.

Forgive me.

Tell Maxime I'll always love him.


We're the neighbours.
What happened?

The gentleman took his life.


It's not possible.


You can sleep in the spare room, ok?

Need my help?

Give me that.


Come here, son.

Good evening.

- How did it go?
- Let me put him to bed.

Good night, Théo.

Good night.

What are you doing?

I want to say goodbye to Céline.

She's very tired.
She needs to be alone, understand?

How is she?

She hasn't left her room all day.

I'm sure she'll pull through.


We must be here for her.

We'll help her.

But Théo comes first.

We come first.

We need a normal life.


We'll soon be in the new house.


What are you doing?

And you?

I wanted to say good night.

Good, so did I.

Come on.

Go on, get into bed.

Why are you so tired?

Why can't you get to sleep?

I'm not sleepy.

Where's Damien?

I'll explain tomorrow.

You really must sleep now.

This magic potion
helps everyone sleep.

Even children who aren't sleepy.

What is it?

A magic potion.

Smell the handkerchief.

It stinks.




Hello, Judge Van Hart, please.

- Down the hall on the left.
- Thank you.

Everything's in order.

But I must ask one last time
to be sure of your decision.

In the absence
of surviving family members,

do you accept Mrs Céline Geniot here

as your adoptive mother?

Does that mean "yes"?


I'm very happy for you, Théo.

You've had a lot of misfortune lately,

but you're a very lucky boy now

to have Mrs Geniot.

What shall we play?

A game of football?

A sandcastle?

I don't want to.

I know how you feel.

It's like a big hole inside.

I can't replace your mum.

Like you can't replace Maxime.

But we'll stick together.

We'll really try to love each other.

And maybe one day
that big hole will vanish.

- Think so?
- I'm sure.

- Stay with me.
- No!

Stop it!

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