80

The Top 10 Movie Performances of Jodie Foster

Nell

Oh crikey, this is weird. Produced by Foster, it tells the story of a young woman raised alone in a cabin by an aphasiac mother, the only threads connecting her to so-called civilised society seemingly being a hulking great bible which she can’t read, and a few personal affects.

Foster spends the first act speaking in a kind of ur-language and building a rapport with kindly doctor Liam Neeson and ambitious researcher Natasha Richardson. Then comes the invasion of real life, you know, that 'civilised' society – actually a bunch of rednecks and vaguely malevolent medical professionals and things take a predictable turn for the worse.

The whole thing should be an absolute cringefest, not least because it actually has a scene where Nell stands up in a courtroom and delivers some slurred TRUTH BOMBS about who the real uncivilised people are here (clue: not her). Instead, the film is saved by Foster’s choice to dial back her physical performance – think more fragile than feral – and allow the simple humanity of Nell plenty of room to breathe.

ADVERTISEMENT

    Deanna Webb

    Deanna works as a copywriter and freelance writer. She lives in Cleveland.