Truffaut did the noble savage shtick better in The Wild Child; ditto Werner Herzog in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Variations on the theme have informed every narrative from Frankenstein to Tarzan's New York Adventure. But as the clinic chief of staff who wants to bring Nell in for observation puts it, "Everybody who cares for somebody has an ulterior motive, even Mother Teresa." Nell's ulterior motive is to showcase Foster's talent. Ultimately there is only one good reason to see the film: to catch Jodie Foster doing Rain Woman.