6.1/10
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6 user 7 critic

Zelly and Me (1988)

PG | | Drama | 15 April 1988 (USA)
A young orphan who lives with her grandmother in a large Virginian home infatuates herself with the voices of Joan d'Arc. Her nanny seeks out the help of a rich suitor (David Lynch's first ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Phoebe
...
Mademoiselle Zelly
...
Co-Co
Kaiulani Lee ...
Nora
...
...
Earl
Courtney Vickery ...
Dora
Lindsay Dickon ...
Kitty
Jason McCall ...
Alexander
Aaron Boone ...
David
Lee Lively ...
Elegant Gentleman Record Narrator
John Raynes ...
Bus Driver
Lynn Hallowell ...
Waitress
...
Taxi Driver
Rick Warner ...
Policeman
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Storyline

A young orphan who lives with her grandmother in a large Virginian home infatuates herself with the voices of Joan d'Arc. Her nanny seeks out the help of a rich suitor (David Lynch's first real acting role) to take her and the orphan away when she realizes that the often cruel grandmother cannot offer the orphan the love that she needs. Ends with an unpredictable plot twist. Written by Jennifer Harrison

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Drama

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PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

15 April 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Phoebe  »

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User Reviews

 
inhibited drama never really comes to life
17 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Small movies can sometimes yield large pleasures, but to appreciate this modest, independently produced drama you'll have to first forgive a lot of its shortcomings. The film is more well-meant than well-made, following the battle of wills between a dictatorial grandmother and a benevolent French governess over the welfare of a precocious, orphaned poor-little-rich-girl. But it's an unfair competition from the start: Grandma Coco can only express her affection for young Phoebe through jealous tantrums and cruel discipline, while governess Zelly (short for Mademoiselle) is all compassion and tenderness (and very little else).

The film is a peculiar mixture of lukewarm nostalgia and cold, upper-crust alienation, showing more forbearance than might otherwise be expected from a story about child abuse. But the meager budget isn't enough to convincingly recreate the (somewhat arbitrary) 1958 setting, effectively isolating the action in a dramatic vacuum. A little more background detail might have made it more involving.

Look for cult director David Lynch in a small role, alongside his then girlfriend Isabella Rossellini.


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