List: Movie Nells

Posted on November 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

I’m sorry Sandra Bullock’s film, Our Brand is Crisis, isn’t getting more attention. I thought it was smart and funny and loved Bullock’s performance. But I admit another reason I liked it was that the wonderful actress Ann Dowd played a character who shares my first name, Nell.

I often joke that my parents collect antiques, starting with the names they gave their daughters. I love my name — it is simple but rare. It has literary connections thanks to Charles Dickens, and musical connections, especially if you’re in a barbershop quartet. And I’m happy to share my name with my friend, the brilliant writer/director Nell Scovell, and with Nell Carter and Charles II’s famous love, Nell Gwynn.

Here are my other favorite movie Nells.

1. Debbie Reynolds in “The Gazebo.”

2. Jodie Foster in “Nell”

3. Julie Harris in “The Haunting”

4. Sarah Jessica Parker in “Dudley Do-Right” (I vastly prefer the original television series but have to mention SJP)

5. Eva Marie Saint in “Raintree County” (Elizabeth Taylor has the flashy role, but Eva Marie Saint as Nell is the woman whose love for Montgomery Clift provides him with some stability and peace.)

6. Marilyn Monroe in “Don’t Bother to Knock”

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