Nell (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  23 December 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 21,749 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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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?


Jodie Foster originally planned to direct the film herself but turned it over to Michael Apted instead. See more »


When the journalist from the Charlotte Tribune, Mike Ibarra, introduces himself to Nell, he pronounces his last name "E-bear-a." When Ibarra introduces himself to Jerome Lovell just seconds later, he pronounces his last name "E-bar-a." See more »


Paula: To think I was going to be the one to change her life.
Jerry: Me too.
Mary: Don't you know? You were the first.
Paula: The first what?
Mary: To need her.
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

A beautiful film
11 December 2002 | by (Manchester England) – See all my reviews

It was a great and simple story. Simply about a woman raised in the wild, unable to speak proper english due to her mothers stroke and she is trying to be brought into "civilisation".

Neeson and Foster are the stars of this film!! Not just because of their star status but they really showed talent in this film. Foster is brilliant as the vulnerable but independent Nell and Neeson is great as her "guardian angel".

This film has its funny bits but the ending... well if youre dead sensitive, get the tissues out. When Nell speaks in the courts, I was causing a flood!!!!

I give it a 10/10. Definetly one to keep forever.

Helen xxxxx

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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