Deep in the mountains of North Carolina, Dr Jerome Lovell (Neeson) discovers a grown wild child, Nell (Foster). She's had no contact with the outside world, having been raised entirely by her invalid mother, and can speak only in a strange onomatopoeic language. But can Nell continue to live her own life, as Lovell hopes, or is she too important for that, a unique subject for a scientific study, as psychologist Paula Olsen (Richardson) would have it? With a court hearing in the offing, the rival scientists camp out in the backwoods. This metaphor-movie is both touching and tasteful. It allows Foster to play scared and alone, traumatised and neurotic, and, most importantly, free and inspirational. She gets to 'commune with nature', speak in tongues, and bring Neeson and Richardson together. Nice photography; nonsensical courtroom speech at the close.