ⓘ Hush (1998 film)

Hush (1998 film)

ⓘ Hush (1998 film)

Helen and Jackson live together in New York City. At the beginning of the film, the two are driving towards the Kentucky farmhouse, Kilronan, where Jackson grew up, primarily to introduce Helen to Jacksons mother, Martha, during the Christmas holidays. They arrive late in the evening and go straight to bed. The next morning Helen awakens to Martha arranging the room, as she thought Helen was asleep in the other bedroom. During their stay Martha tries to convince Jackson to stay to help her run the farm. Helen notices that Martha cleans their room and arranges their things every day, including Helens contraceptive.

After returning to New York in the new year, Helen discovers she is pregnant after getting violently ill at work. When she informs Jackson of this, he asks her to marry him and she accepts. The wedding is held at Kilronan, where Helen meets Jacksons paternal grandmother, Alice, who tells Helen she doesnt trust Martha. Alice points out Martha is extremely smart and capable of doing the farmwork of four men. Before Alice can say more Martha interrupts.

After the wedding they return to their New York apartment. Helen is assaulted by a burglar who steals her locket and makes sexual advances. When Helen tells him shes pregnant, he cuts her abdomen and leaves. The fetus is not injured.

Martha arrives unannounced, saying she wants to sell Kilronan because she cannot run it alone. Helen tells Jackson she wants to move to Kentucky and in with Martha for a year and help renovate the land. Jackson tells Helen his father died in that house when he was seven and he blames himself because he ran into his father, pushing him down the stairs to his death. Jackson also tells Helen that his father had been cheating on Martha with a woman named Robin Hayes. Helen says they should go back to the farm so Jackson can face his "old ghosts".

The couple move in with Martha, who attempts to divide them with subversive comments and manipulating the family friends and neighbors. When Helen goes to the doctor, she finds out Martha told him Helen wanted to have the baby at the house, even though Helen had never said that. Suspicious and increasingly annoyed, Helen talks to Alice who tells her that Jackson is not responsible for his fathers death. He had landed on a nail puller at the bottom of the stairs, crushing his sternum, which, according to news reports was a freak accident. When Helen returns that evening she finds Jackson calling around asking for her whereabouts with Martha hovering close by. Helens frigid attitude toward her mother-in-law prompts Martha to visit Alice and warn her to stay away from them.

Having had enough of Marthas manipulations, Helen tells Jackson that Martha is tearing their marriage apart. He agrees to go back to New York and tells his mother, who appears to accept it gracefully. Martha is completely convinced the baby will be a boy, and that Helen is a bad influence on her son and unborn grandchild.

Jackson leaves the farm on a work call, leaving Helen and Martha alone. That evening, Martha bakes a strawberry cheesecake for Helen laced with pitocin, a labor inducer. Helen wakes up the next morning, feeling strange. She discovers a baby room set up by Martha and finds the locket that was stolen from her in New York amongst the baby clothes. When Martha unexpectedly enters the room, Helen tries unsuccessfully to escape, driving to a neighboring farm and coming face to face with her attacker from New York, then attempting to escape on foot before Martha captures her at the side of the highway.

Reluctantly, Helen gives birth at the house, with Martha looking on, offering assistance, but refusing to give Helen painkillers. Martha leaves the room to answer a phone call from Jackson. She tells him that everything is okay, but when Helen screams in pain, Martha hangs up.

Helen eventually gives birth to a healthy boy. She begs Martha to hand her the baby, but Martha ignores her, telling the baby she his mother. Martha tries to inject a needle full of morphine in Helens arm, but Helen knocks the syringe away. By the time Martha retrieves it, she hears Jacksons footsteps in the house. In a scramble, she quickly cleans up, meeting Jackson at the door with the newborn baby. She tells him to leave Helen alone, as he has no idea what shes been through. The two leave Helen asleep, and Martha gives the baby to Jackson.

That night, Martha enters Helens bedroom with the syringe, but she finds Jackson awake in a chair next to the bed. Despite his mothers insistence that he return to bed, he stays, thereby thwarting her plan. The next morning, Helen awakens to see Jackson with the baby. As Helen finally holds her child she tells Jackson to ask Martha to make breakfast for them.

At breakfast, Helen enters the house with an object in her bag. Helen says that it is the object that killed Jacksons father. She proceeds to tell Jackson the whole truth about his fathers murder. She reveals that Robin Hayes, the "woman" Jackson believed his father had cheated on his mother with, was actually a male horse wrangler, with whom Martha had an affair. Helen also shows Jackson a vicious bruise from Marthas attempt to murder her so she could have him and their son to herself. Jacksons father was planning to leave Martha when he discovered the affair but Martha ended up killing him. Martha made Jackson think he did so she can bind him to her for the rest of his life. Jackson tells Martha that he never wants to see her again. Martha claims that Helen is only doing this because she is jealous of her. In utter disgust, Helen slaps Martha to the ground. Helen and Jackson then leave with their baby while Martha sobs on the floor, her hopes dashed.

In the final scene, the couple visit Alice before they leave for good, presenting her with her great-grandson.


1. Cast

  • Nina Foch as Alice Baring
  • Johnathon Schaech as Jackson Baring
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Helen Baring
  • Jessica Lange as Martha Baring
  • Hal Holbrook as Dr. Franklin Hill

2. Soundtrack

Intrada released a limited edition album of Christopher Youngs score on November 12, 2012.

  • Mamas Gonna 10:36
  • A 4:37
  • Hush 18:32
  • Hush Concert Suite 15:01
  • Dont 7:56
  • Little Baby 4:41
  • You 3:43
  • Buy You 4:44
  • Cry 5:39

3. Reception

The movie has earned a 12% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes movie review website based on 41 reviews, widely panned by critics.

Roger Ebert has been quoted as saying that Hush is "the kind of movie where you walk in, watch the first 10 minutes, know exactly where its going, and hope devoutly that youre wrong. Its one of those Devouring Woman movies where the villainess never plays a scene without a drink and a cigarette, and the hero is inattentive to the victim to the point of dementia."

Jessica Lange earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress, losing to the Spice Girls for Spice World.

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