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Nell (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  23 December 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 21,535 users  
Reviews: 87 user | 24 critic

In a remote woodland cabin, a small town doctor discovers Nell - a beautiful young hermit woman with many secrets.



(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Nell (1994)

Nell (1994) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paula Olsen
Alexander Paley
Todd Peterson
Mary Peterson
Billy Fisher
Don Fontana
Heather M. Bomba ...
Twin #1
Marianne E. Bomba ...
Twin #2
Mike Ibarra
Stephanie Dawn Wood ...
Ruthie Lovell
Mary Lynn Riner ...
Janet Baring
Lucile McIntyre ...


Nell is a girl who's been brought up in an isolated world. The only people she knew were her mother and twin sister. They lived together in a cottage in the forest. Nobody has ever met Nell. After her mother's death, she's discovered by the local doctor Jerome. He's fascinated by her, since she speaks a mangled language, developed by her sister and herself growing up, "twin speak" if you will. But Paula, a psychology student, wants her observed in a laboratory. The judge decides they get three months to observe her in the forest, after which he'll decide about Nell's future. Written by Tony Kessen <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Language beyond understanding Life beyond words... Discover... See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 December 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una mujer llamada Nell  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£902,923 (UK) (17 March 1995)


£1,843,233 (UK) (14 April 1995)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ally Sheedy turned down the role of Nell. See more »


(at around 12 mins) Nell swims in the nude, but when on the shore and dancing, she has on underwear. See more »


Dr. Paley: Let me give you a little peek into the future, Paula. One day soon some hiker or fisherman is gonna walk out of those woods with a story about a wild woman. And that'll bring the news reporters and the reports will bring the crowds, who will bring the talk-show hosts. Nell will find she's hired a lawyer, an agent, a manager, and three bodyguards. You think she can handle that?
See more »


Spoofed in Plump Fiction (1997) See more »


Written by Willie Nelson
Performed by Patsy Cline
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

13 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to see the original production of the play, its emotional impact was as profound as any I have experienced in the theatre. It is perhaps for this reason that I was left somewhat disappointed with this film.

However, I recently looked at it again and found that it is truly a top film. Jodie Foster is a towering talent as an actor and this performance was as good or better than any she's given. Neeson and Richardson were also at the top of their game. And the story of a woman shut off from the world, and the world's perceptions of her, merely because she can't communicate to it, is profound in its implications.

I should not have been surprised about being disappointed the first time. I also saw a stage production in Los Angeles of IDIOGLOSSIA and found that disappointing after the original. But this film is a wonderful film.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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