Nurse Betty (2000) - Synopsis
"A fugue is a combination of amnesia and physical fright The individual flees from his customary surroundings toward the assumption of a new identity."
American Psychiatric Association 1994 - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition
"It' s as you say, we can't sit here forever."
H.G. Wells, Author - The History of Mr. Polly
From director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men (1997) Your Friends & Neighbors (1998)) comes Nurse Betty, 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 (Renée Zellweger) inspires herself and everyone she meets to find at least a piece of their real selves throughout this romantic, dangerously funny road picture.
What happens when a person decides that life is merely a state of mind? If you're Betty, a small-town waitress and soap opera fan from Fair Oaks, Kansas, you refuse to believe that you can't be with the love of your life just because he doesn't really exist. After all, life is no excuse for not living.
The popular TV daytime drama "A Reason to Love" has an especially devoted viewer in Betty, a young woman with a good heart and a bad marriage. Her no-good car salesman husband, Del (Aaron Eckhart), treats her like dirt and forgets her birthday; as Betty quietly celebrates alone, she can barely remember her deferred dreams of becoming a real nurse.
At home one night watching a videotape of that day's episode, Betty watches raptly as her favorite character, Dr. David Ravell, stares up at the moon and says, "I know there's someone special out there for me." Betty feels as if he's speaking directly to her. That is, until her husband comes home with two men to negotiate a shady business deal. As she tries to watch her show, Betty becomes an accidental witness to this deal going fatally awry: Del offends courtly hit man Charlie (Morgan Freeman) and his excitable protege Wesley (Chris Rock), and is violently dispatched. Betty, traumatized by this savage event, 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, Dr. Ravell, whom she jilted at the altar six years ago.
Betty promptly leaves Kansas in a "borrowed" 1997 Buick LeSabre - which is precisely what her late husband's killers are looking for. They, in turn, set off after Betty, but she has a head start and is intensely focused on her mission. Miles behind their quarry, the hit men formulate wildly differing assessments of their prey: Wesley sees her as a coldly calculating criminal, while Charlie begins to obsess about her. Back in Fair Oaks, Sheriff Ballard (Pruitt Taylor Vince) and local reporter Roy Ostrey (Crispin Glover) are investigating Del's murder and Betty's sudden, unexplained disappearance.
Betty arrives in Los Angeles to search for her beloved Dr. Kavell, who is played on "A Reason to Love" by actor George McCord (Greg Kinnear). She is reluctantly aided in this quest by her new friend, Rosa Herrera (Tia Texada). As Betty makes contact with Dr. Kavell/George McCord and the hit men slowly but surely track her down, life begins to imitate art and vice versa.
A Gramercy Pictures presentation in association with Pacifica Film Distribution of a Propaganda Films/ab'-strakt pictures/IMF production. Morgan Freeman, Renée Zellweger, Chris Rock, Greg Kinnear. Nurse Betty. Aaron Eckhart, Crispin Glover, Pruitt Taylor Vince. Casting by Heidi Levitt & Monika Mikkelsen. Music Supervisor, Frankie Pine. Associate Producers, W. Mark McNair, Albert Shapiro. Music by Rolfe Kent. Costume Designer, Lynette Meyer. Edited by Joel Plotch, Steven Weisberg. Production Designer, Charles Breen. Director of Photography, Jean Yves Escoffier. Executive Producers, Philip Steuer, Stephen Pevner, Moritz Borman, Chris Sievemieh. Story by John C. Richards. Screenplay by John C. Richards & James Flamberg. Produced by Gail Mutrux, Steve Golin. Directed by Neil LaBute.