Nurse Betty


Nurse Betty

Critics Consensus

Quirky in the best sense of the word, Nurse Betty finds director Neil LaBute corralling a talented cast in service of a sharp, imaginative script.



Total Count: 131


Audience Score

User Ratings: 35,280
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Movie Info

The winner of the Best Screenplay award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, this film is a darkly comic story about one woman's incredible determination to make her dreams come true against numerous odds. Fantasy collides with reality as Betty Sizemore, a small-town waitress and soap opera fan, inspires herself and everyone she meets to find at least a piece of their real selves throughout this romantic, dangerously funny road picture. The popular TV daytime drama "A Reason to Love" has an especially devoted viewer in Betty. One night, watching a videotape of that day's episode, she becomes an accidental witness to a deal going fatally awry for her no-good car salesman husband. Betty, traumatized, enters into a fugue state that allows - even encourages - her to keep functioning, in a kind of alternate reality. Betty Sizemore becomes "Nurse Betty," who is set on returning to the love of her life, the show's Dr. David Ravell. Betty promptly sets off for Los Angles in a "borrowed" 1997 Buick LeSabre - which is precisely what her late husband's killers are looking for. As Betty makes contact with Dr. Ravell and the hit men slowly but surely track her down, life begins to imitate art and vice versa.


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Critic Reviews for Nurse Betty

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (109) | Rotten (22)

  • Swerving from viciousness to whimsy to dubious feminist fable, Nurse Betty doesn't jell. Still, with a cast as charmed as this, it comes oh so close.

    Mar 6, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • The actors hold the movie together, particularly Ms. Zellweger and Mr. Freeman, whose characters achieve a remarkable intimacy in a most unlikely situation.

    Apr 27, 2007 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • In his third, most accomplished film, LaBute puts aside the inquiry of misogyny that dominated his previous work and immerses himself in a lighter romantic fable about the collision of fantasy and reality, with a terrific performance from Renee Zelwegger

    Jul 23, 2006 | Rating: B+

    Emanuel Levy

    Top Critic
  • Almost every emotion and action on view is presented as false, idiotic or superficial.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • LaBute didn't write Nurse Betty, but his fierce comic touch is, luckily, all over this movie.

    May 10, 2001 | Rating: 5/5
  • A triumph for Mr. LaBute as it is for its cast, because its success is so dependent on its sustaining a precarious balance between humor and pathos, realism and fantasy.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4.5/5

Audience Reviews for Nurse Betty

  • Feb 06, 2012
    The unexpected hard edge really saves this film from mediocrity. Full thumbs up to Chris Rock for an absolutely great surprise performance. Who knew that the guy had it in him.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2011
    Neil LaBute's "Nurse Betty" is a remarkable film. While LaBute takes a lot from The Coen Brothers (determinism, shades of existential violence, a dash of film noir) and David Lynch (the collision of fantasy and reality) which cements his role as opportunist rather than auteur, "Nurse Betty" remains fresh, vibrant and funny. The film incredibly manages to balance three completely different avenues and makes them cohesive. You have hit men Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock in one section, the psychotically broken Betty and her adventures in Los Angeles in another and then characters from small town Kansas rounding things out. The film manages to find a way to intertwine these aspects in a satisfying and intriguing way, always remembering the the truth behind this wacky scenario. "Nurse Betty" shouldn't work, it should have been a massive, convoluted mess. But it's not. It's an incredibly sly, biting and extremely heartfelt picture with a dynamite Renee Zellweger at it's center.
    Steven C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2008
    Not quite the 5 star movie I remembered, but still a pretty good one. Am rewatching some of my old DVDs and really enjoying them. Renee zellweger really was a good actress (still is, but I did like her earlier roles).
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2007
    This film tries hard to be loved and it's by no means bad but apart from a standout performance by Zellweger, and her plot is the best part of the film, the subplots about stolen drugs and hitmen taking on their final job just feel tagged on to fill it out.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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