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

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(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,094 ( 404)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
...
Judge
Stephanie Dawn Wood ...
Ruthie Lovell
Mary Lynn Riner ...
Janet Baring
Lucile McIntyre ...
Sally
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Storyline

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 <rhkessen@cs.vu.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 December 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una mujer llamada Nell  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£902,923 (UK) (17 March 1995)

Gross:

£1,843,233 (UK) (14 April 1995)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The lake Nell's cabin sits on is obviously an artificial one, likely produced by a dam built on a river. Inlets like hers are the result of deep ravines in the landscape that fill up with water. The stone which extend out into the water and provide the setting for some of the film's more poignant moments would never be found naturally in such an inlet; they would have been added for the film. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Sheriff Todd Peterson: I guess she's what you'd call a hermit. She talked kinda funny, too. She was kinda like: 'Durr murr muh...'.
Jerry: Only one side of her face was working. You try talking out of one side of your face.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Parks and Recreation: Fancy Party (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

CRAZY
Written by Willie Nelson
Performed by Patsy Cline
Courtesy of MCA Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
There's a definition to great art.
18 December 2005 | by (South Korea) – See all my reviews

I can't think of another movie better than this one that I have seen anyway so I nominate it for a ten. The thing about great art is it engages the consciousness of the perceiver creatively with the same amount of energy the perceiver invests. That might sound like a lot of pseudo-babble so let me try again. What you see is what you get with great art--and this relationship happens unpretentiously. In an ideal creation there is nothing presumptuous about the art. No doubt there are moments of stereotypes, but these could be just as easily blamed on bad acting from the supporting cast, or simple lapses in composition. I don't think anyone could seriously say stereotypes are a fundamental weakness of this flick, mainly because the use of stereotypes is serving a larger purpose to the story--at least as I see it. This is probably one of the most complex, multi-layered movies I have ever seen. We witness all the archetypes of good storytelling utilized in ever-meshing ways. How sexual violence is a fetish, and how an innocent mind sees it as simple playing. And in every scene we are given, the meaning of Foster's character and what she represents grows. The ending under these terms is truly remarkable and frankly a surprise if witnessed representationally. I mean these are heavy comments on reality folks. I didn't see the play the screenplay was based on, but over and over again I kept thinking "Who the hell wrote this thing? Who directed this?" It is masterful, and if you can't see it that way, I don't know, go read some books on critical theory, on the development of human consciousness, on Aristotle's's poetics, etc. It is counterpoint perfection--extremely well crafted, and a powerful commentary on not only our culture and "civilization," but what it means to be human in this contemporary moment. Oh yeah, Jodi Foster is outstanding. We could make a case that she and her character are the center of this movie, except that it is the world unfolding around her that makes this such great drama. I think I have to go back to her Disney-era movies to think of a truly awful movie she has made. But that shouldn't count either. I never thought those movies were all that bad, but then I simply watched them as a kid.


20 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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