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Claire Bartel is the main protagonist of the 1992 thriller film The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
She is portrayed by Annabella Sciorra.
Claire Bartel is pregnant with her second child and is having a routine check by the film's second antagonist Dr. Mott, but things go terribly wrong during the check up. As he's doing the check up, Mott sexually molests her. Traumatized, Claire tells her husband Michael what happened and he encourages her to report Dr. Mott to the police.
Claire tells the police what happened to her and then files a complaint against Dr. Mott. After she filed the complaint, other women came forward claiming that they too were victims of Dr. Victor Mott and file complaints about him because of that as well. In order to avoid being arrested, put on trial and (possibly) sentenced to imprisonment, he commits suicide, leaving behind his wife, the film's main antagonist Mrs. Mott.
Because of the stress of losing her husband, their money and their home, she goes into early labor and is rushed into the emergency room, but the doctors couldn't save their child, and she undergoes an emergency hysterectomy.
After the tragedy of the loss of her home and money, the deaths of her husband and baby and her hysterectomy, she learns about Claire and the cases that were filed against her late husband by former female patients on tv on a news program while in the hospital recovering from the hysterectomy.
Meanwhile, Claire has given birth to her second child, a boy named Joey and publishes an ad for a nanny in a newspaper and Mrs. Mott who has changed her name to Peyton Flanders, tricks the Bartels into hiring her and she sets out to make Claire's life a living hell for (seemingly) ruining her's.
Things began to go wrong for Claire as soon as she hires Mrs. Mott, she began to go against Claire's wishes by breastfeeding Joey which leads to the baby not drinking her breast milk, encouraging her daughter Emma to keep secrets from her, destroying her husband Michael's office proposal, hitting on him and leading Claire to believe he and her friend Marlene are having an affair; however, Claire didn't approach Michael with her accusations until she finds a cigarette lighter in his pants' pocket at a laundry mat after he and Marlene were at a restaurant, planning her surprise birthday party which was Mrs Mott's idea.
Peyton then frames the Bartels' mentally disabled handyman Solomon by putting Emma's underwear in his toolbox because she didn't want him telling Claire about her breast feeding Joey without her permission; this led Claire to believe that he was molesting Emma forcing her and Michael to fire him; as everything in her home goes terribly wrong, she begins to doubt "Peyton".
She shares her doubts about "Peyton" to Michael but Mrs. Mott hears her in the kitchen while listening for Joey and because of that, she sets up a trap for Claire by rigging her greenhouse. But as soon as Marlene finds out her true identity and threatens to tell Claire her dirty little secret, she tricks Marlene into her trap by telling her Claire was in the greenhouse; Marlene pushes the greenhouse door open, but she is killed by the falling glass from the roof; meanwhile, Mrs. Mott empties Claire's inhalers as an attempt to kill Claire before she finds out who she really is.
Claire finds Marlene's dead body in the greenhouse and because of it and Mrs. Mott emptying her inhalers, she suffers a severe asthma attack but she recovers from it and is released from the hospital, she discovers a note that she was left from Marlene before her death and discovers "Peyton's" secret.
With that, Claire confronts her and then punches her in the face, causing her to fall over the kitchen table. Mrs. Mott tells Claire that she and Michael were having an affair, but Michael rebukes it; when Mrs. Mott said he told her there was only one woman for him, Michael replied that he meant Claire. Claire and Michael then kick Mrs. Mott out. Unfortunately for them, Mrs. Mott breaks into the house and attacks Michael with a shovel.
With his legs broken because of the attack, he warns Claire to hide the kids and call the police. Mrs. Mott hunts down her and the children and attacks Claire, who she knocks down with the shovel. She then walks up the stairs and over to Emma, saying that she will take Emma and Joe with her to leave the house and start a new life. But Emma, now seeing Peyton for what she really is after having seen Mrs. Mott attack and knock her mother unconscious, doesn't believe her; instead, she turns against her and locks her in the nursery, but Mrs. Mott escapes by using a fire poker.
She hears Joey in the attic and enters only to find Solomon aiding in the children's escape, she threatens Solomon but Claire comes in with a knife, ready to kill Mrs. Mott. She fakes an asthma attack, only to see Mrs. Mott attacking Solomon with the fire poker while Joey was in his arms; with that, she finally pushes Mrs. Mott out the window, causing her body to land on the gates that Solomon built, killing her.
Touched at how Solomon risked his life to protect her family, Claire welcomes him back into their lives as they leave the attic while the police and paramedics arrive at the house.