6.5/10
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Nell (1994)

PG-13 | | Drama | 23 December 1994 (USA)
In a remote woodland cabin, a small town doctor discovers Nell - a beautiful young hermit woman with many secrets.

Director:

Michael Apted

Writers:

Mark Handley (play), William Nicholson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jodie Foster ... Nell
Liam Neeson ... Jerome Lovell
Natasha Richardson ... Paula Olsen
Richard Libertini ... Alexander Paley
Nick Searcy ... Todd Peterson
Robin Mullins Robin Mullins ... Mary Peterson
Jeremy Davies ... Billy Fisher
O'Neal Compton ... Don Fontana
Heather M. Bomba Heather M. Bomba ... Twin #1
Marianne E. Bomba Marianne E. Bomba ... Twin #2
Sean Bridgers ... Mike Ibarra
Joe Inscoe ... Judge
Stephanie Dawn Wood Stephanie Dawn Wood ... Ruthie Lovell
Mary Lynn Riner Mary Lynn Riner ... Janet Baring
Lucile McIntyre 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 Jerry. 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

InLiam Neesom and Natasha Richardson got married the same year as the movie's release, and had two sons. 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

Paula: All the research shows that children who perceive their parents enjoying a good sex-life grow up to have far better sexual relationships themselves.
Jerry: Is that so?
Paula: Yea, that's so.
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
See more »

User Reviews

 
A profound, superbly acted meditation on love and loss
26 March 2014 | by briantrashSee all my reviews

My rating: 8 out of 10 (I really liked it)

I just watched this and wow, what a movie.

I hope no one would let the "average" rating this movie has received on IMDb dissuade them from giving it a try. I can't predict what people will like and what they won't like, but I know that for me it was an experience I didn't want to end. The point of movies is to immerse you in another world, to make you believe you're watching real people going through real experiences. For 2 hours 'Nell' did that for me.

The acting in 'Nell' is some of the best I've ever seen. There wasn't a false note to be found from a single person in the cast – these actors BECAME those characters. Never once did I feel that I was watching a performance. It was all incredibly real, and that's rare. I was in awe the whole time.

'Nell' is full of wonderful things. The cinematography is utterly gorgeous. Normally visuals don't carry much weight with me, but even I couldn't help but notice. And the music, while simple, was so weighty and effective.

This is not a movie for people who are bored unless there's fighting and explosions and such. This is a thoughtful movie. It's about people, their life experiences, and how they deal with and are shaped by those experiences.

It's interesting…I've read a number of reviews of 'Nell', and the mixed reactions it's gotten for the last 20 years tell me that sometimes even highly intelligent people can see a movie and yet not really see it. Many reviewers would have you think 'Nell' is about language, about the phenomenon of "idioglossia". Trust me, that's NOT what this movie is about. Yes, that may be the framework for the story, and "Idioglossia" is the name of the play on which this is based, but that's not what 'Nell' is about. Simply put, the story of 'Nell' is a story of two of the most basic and yet most profound of human experiences – love and loss. For two hours we are given a window into the lives of these characters, watching them as they help one another deal with these two matters together.

I won't say any more about the plot because I would hate to spoil anything for someone reading this, but I will add one more thing. Watching Jodi Foster in the very last scene of the movie…maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but wow. Rarely have I seen an end to a movie that so simply, effectively, and profoundly reflects on a human being's experience of love and loss.

My rating of an 8 in no way implies that I found flaws with this movie. When you reach a certain level of quality in art it becomes simply a matter of preference. In my scale, 9 and 10 are generally reserved for movies of certain genres and certain subjects. Therefore, I would not argue one bit with someone who gave this movie a perfect score.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nell See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$62,663, 18 December 1994

Gross USA:

$33,683,817

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$106,683,817
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (uncredited)| DTS-Stereo (uncredited)| SDDS | DTS | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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