One of the five student nurses who will spend time in a medical outpost, deep in the Mexican mountains, is Elizabeth (Lindsay Wagner), recently divorced from a leading Californian surgeon. The others are young, one being her daughter, who is surprised to find her mother on this trip. "You've never worked a day in your life," she says. Elizabeth has a lot to prove and her insecurities are showing. As a wealthy middle-aged woman, well-used to creature comforts, what is she trying to prove in an inhospitable jungle, patrolled by rebel soldiers, where the cash crop is marijuana?

Before she has time to fully appreciate the inadequacies of her education, a real life drama is about to unfold. One of the small planes, bringing relief doctors to the clinic, crashes into a forest. The medical supplies on board are stolen before help can arrive. Suddenly Elizabeth and the girls, who have no experience of anything like this, nor of life outside the city for that matter, are thrown headlong into a situation that requires nerve, initiative and courage.

Based on a true story, the film is at pains to be honest. There are moments of introspection and emotional outpouring, but not many. To save the lives of these seriously wounded men takes an effort of will and faith. "What we have, ladies, is a job," the head of the clinic (Robert Loggia) tells the girls. And so they buckle down, fighting the tears and exhaustion, ignoring the fear and the red tape.

Sentimentality is held in check. The performances are strong, especially Loggia and Paula Marshall, the flakiest of the Californians, and David Clennon, as the deputy head of the clinic whose bad back almost incapacitates him. A young Jennifer Lopez plays a Mexican American med student. She does well and looks better than the pop diva movie star of today. She looks real.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2001
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Nurses On The Line packshot
Student nurses in dramatic plane crash rescue in Mexican jungle.
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Director: Larry Shaw

Writer: Andrew Laskos, Norman Morrill

Starring: Lindsay Wagner, Robert Loggia, David Clennon, Farrah Forke, Paula Marshall, Gary Frank, Hilary Edson, Jennifer Lopez

Year: 1993

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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