Innocuous melancholy scratchpad set in Virginia, 1958, a young girl—parents dead in an accident—lives with her grandmother on a large estate with a French nurse, a cook, and a black gardener.*************************** Zelly and Me. Innocuous melancholy scratchpad set in Virginia, 1958, a young girl—parents dead in an accident—lives with her grandmother on a large estate with a French nurse, a cook, and a black gardener. The poor little girl is outcasted at school and only looks forward to the time she spends with the nurse, Zelly, as well as in finding sanctuary in two particular stuffed animals, especially against her domineering and sadistic grandmother wishes (“Get on your knees!”). The film, written and directed by Tina Rathborne broaches some relevant topics—such as the prepubescent girl resorting to self-mutilation by burning herself—but Rathborne never tackles or specifically addresses those calamities. Softly shot by Mikael Salomon, Rathborne appears to be nonchalant about the placid complacency. Isabella Rossellini is Zelly, sporting a bad version of a French accent, but a sweetness and softness that is not disagreeable to the sight. Director David Lynch, Rossellini’s then-hubby (returning the favor maybe after Blue Velvet?), co-stars as her “aww shucks/holy smokes”-type boyfriend, posing as a wealthy denizen, but actually a servicing butler/chauffeur. Lynch has a certain all-Americanness, a wholesome deportment that might be contrary to many’s abstraction of what the director of such tenebrous films could so effortlessly play. Alexandra Johnes makes her debut as the youthful Phoebe, a diffident but adequate youngster whose character deserves more compassion than she gets; subjected somewhat symbolically as a reincarnate youth of Joan of Arc, which she repeatedly listens to night after night on her record-player. Glynis Johns takes the imperious grand-mama role, stern and solemn, lonely and loveless, but so dry she doesn’t know how to rejuvenate or reciprocate the love Phoebe wants to offer or has available. Zelly and Me bounces in a hollowish, tinny fashion, but the shiny porcelain surface doesn’t easily crack, even with the added pressure.