Nell is a 1994 American drama film directed by Michael Apted from a screenplay written by William Nicholson. The film stars Jodie Foster (who also produced) as Nell Kellty, a young woman who has to face other people for the first time after being raised by her mother in an isolated cabin. Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson, Richard Libertini, and Nick Searcy are featured in supporting roles. Based on Mark Handley's play Idioglossia, the script for Nell was developed by co-producer Renée Missel and was inspired by Handley's time living in the Cascade Mountains in the 1970s, and the story of Poto and Cabengo, twins who created their own language. Partway through the movie, the other characters discover that Nell is actually speaking English, just mispronouncing all the words. As an example, when Nell says "Nay Cay Chickabay," she is actually saying "Don't Cry Chickadee."


When Violet Kellty, who had an undiagnosed stroke, dies in her isolated cabin in the North Carolina mountains, Dr. Jerome "Jerry" Lovell, the town doctor, finds a terrified young woman hiding in the house rafters. She speaks angrily and rapidly, but seems to have a language of her own. Looking at Violet's bible, Jerry finds a note asking whoever finds it to look after Violet's daughter Nell. Sheriff Todd Peterson shows Jerry a news clipping that Nell was conceived through rape.