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Laura San Giacomo,
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 <email@example.com>
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.
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