Nell

Nell

4.4 5
Director: Michael Apted

Cast: Jodie Foster, Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson

     
 

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A woman is brought to civilization after spending her life in the wilds in this drama. Dr. Jerome Lovell (Liam Neeson) happens upon a shack deep in the woods, where he discovers a strange woman who appears to be about 30, speaking an incomprehensible language. The woman, named Nell (Jodie Foster), was raised in the cabin by her late mother, who was incapacitated by… See more details below

Overview

A woman is brought to civilization after spending her life in the wilds in this drama. Dr. Jerome Lovell (Liam Neeson) happens upon a shack deep in the woods, where he discovers a strange woman who appears to be about 30, speaking an incomprehensible language. The woman, named Nell (Jodie Foster), was raised in the cabin by her late mother, who was incapacitated by strokes (Nell speaks English, but distorted -- as it was by her mother's infirmities); with the exception of her twin sister, who died as a child, Nell has had contact with no other human being. Lovell brings in a psychiatrist, Dr. Paula Olsen (Natasha Richardson) to help determine what, if anything, should be done for Nell; Olsen thinks that Nell should be committed to an institution, but Lovell demands a period of unobtrusive observation instead. When it becomes obvious that the courts will demand that Nell be hospitalized for psychiatric observation, Lovell and Olsen take it upon themselves to gently introduce Nell to the outside world. Jodie Foster's performance in Nell earned her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress, and she won the Screen Actor's Guild award in that category.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Jodie Foster's beguiling mix of pre-linguistic drawling and moon-eyed curiosity make hers one of the most engrossing portrayals of stunted development captured on film. Although Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson provide strong support as Foster's surrogate parents, Nell lives on the strength of Foster's unselfconscious dedication to her craft. She awards and rescinds trust like a wounded animal, and she's convincingly fluent in a sing-songy language that flows effortlessly. Michael Apted is a fitting director for the project, as the film blends themes from his Gorillas in the Mist and his respected documentary series 7 Up. Acclaimed cinematographer Dante Spinotti captures the Carolina woods with virtuosity, from the helicopter shot that accompanies the opening credits to the moving camera following Nell through the lakes and forest stomping grounds of her memory. Despite talent bursting from every pore, however, Nell can't quite escape its disease-of-the-week trappings. The script follows familiar patterns when it turns into a tug of war between the humanists who prize Nell's happiness and the scientists who yearn to probe and examine her. The fact that this culminates in a courtroom competency hearing with considerably lax standards just underscores the film's conventionality. Still, Foster's Oscar nomination was clearly justified, and one can understand why Neeson and Richardson develop an intense parental affection for her character.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/02/1996
UPC:
0086162873737
Original Release:
1994
Rating:
PG13
Source:
20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jodie Foster Nell
Liam Neeson Jerome Lovell
Natasha Richardson Paula Olsen
Richard Libertini Alexander Paley
Nick Searcy Todd Peterson
Robin Mullins Mary Peterson
Jeremy Davies Billy Fisher
O'Neal Compton Don Fontana
Joe Inscoe Judge
Dana Stevens Rachel Weiss
Robin Rochelle Teacher
Marlon Jackson Male Nurse

Technical Credits
Michael Apted Director
Jean A. Black Makeup
Jim Clark Editor
Jodie Foster Producer
Tim Galvin Art Director
Mark Handley Screenwriter
Samara Hutman Set Decoration/Design
Jon Hutman Production Designer
Mark Isham Score Composer
Linda Lowy Casting
Susan Lyall Costumes/Costume Designer
Jaren Millard Makeup
Renee Missel Producer
Chris Newman Sound/Sound Designer
William Nicholson Screenwriter
Graham Place Co-producer
David Sardi Asst. Director
Dante Spinotti Cinematographer

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