A woman is brought to civilization after spending her life in the wilds in this drama. Dr. Jerome Lovell (Liam Neeson) happens upon a shack deep in the woods, where he discovers a strange woman who appears to be about 30, speaking an incomprehensible language. The woman, named Nell (Jodie Foster), was raised in the cabin by her late mother, who was incapacitated by strokes (Nell speaks English, but distorted – as it was by her mother's infirmities); with the exception of her twin sister, who died as a child, Nell has had contact with no other human being. Lovell brings in a psychiatrist, Dr. Paula Olsen (Natasha Richardson) to help determine what, if anything, should be done for Nell; Olsen thinks that Nell should be committed to an institution, but Lovell demands a period of unobtrusive observation instead. When it becomes obvious that the courts will demand that Nell be hospitalized for psychiatric observation, Lovell and Olsen take it upon themselves to gently introduce Nell to the outside world.
In this multiple Oscar-winning thriller, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy whose shrewd analyses of serial killers lands her a special assignment: the FBI is investigating a vicious murderer nicknamed Buffalo Bill, who kills young women and then removes the skin from their bodies. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into this case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out. Lecter does indeed know something of Buffalo Bill, but his information comes with a price: in exchange for telling what he knows, he wants to be housed in a more comfortable facility. More important, he wants to speak with Clarice about her past.