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Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Summary: From the Academy Award winning team behind Man on Wire comes the story of Nim, a chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. What was learned about his true nature – and indeed our own – is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling. (Roadside Attractions) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 16, 2011
    Extraordinarily engaging but surprisingly sobering.
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 14, 2011
    At times hilarious but ultimately heartbreaking, Project Nim is a great chronicle of the 1970s and all the nutty ideas that implies; academia in particular comes in for a hard reckoning.
  3. 88
    In art there are no rules, just stuff that works. And for the second film in a row, Marsh has created a movie we can't keep our eyes off.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 8, 2011
    The big news here is not simply that Nim was traumatized, it's that Nim was signing that he was traumatized.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 14, 2011
    What makes this film especially engrossing is that what happened between that chimp and the humans with whom he spent his life in intimate contact turns out to be only half the story that Marsh, who directed the electrifying "Man on Wire," has to tell.
  6. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jul 2, 2011
    While this is fascinating material, it's the flawed human behavior it exposes that makes the story so compelling. And yet what elevates Marsh's film is the even-handedness of his perspective.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Jul 3, 2011
    To drive home the pathos of Nim's mistreatment, James Marsh frequently makes questionable use of the creature's apparent similarity to human beings, trading complex analysis for easy sentiment.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 3 out of 6
  1. Mar 11, 2012
    Sorry, Italian / English mechanic.
    1973 November : A small chimpanzee born in captivity in Norman Oklahoma / suiprimati in a research
    center. A few days later, the puppy is removed from the mother, already accustomed to this oozing, after having abbattutacon a dart containing tranquilizer. The little chimp is then inserted in a "family man". To take care of him is a former student, wealthy, with a degree in psychology Stephanie LaFarge / and with a lot 'of their children by adding those of her new husband.
    Nim was the beginning of the project, perhaps the most radical experiment of its kind, which aims to demonstrate the possibility that a chimp has to communicate through sign language, if raised, nurtured and raised as a human child. The direction of the experiment is carried out by a psychology professor at Columbia University Herbert S. Terrace /. Once acquired sign language, or rather the greatest number of words and a bit 'rough grammar, one hopes to steal his thoughts, his moods. If successful, the consequences are nothing short of staggering, lack of communication between man and his nearest relative was struck and forever new frontiers of communication open and so forth. The question - What does it mean to be human? - Remains to be redefined.
    The new tenant has an immediate and positive approach affectively with her adoptive family, and certainly does not mind the residence on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where spaces wide and especially lots and lots of people to allow them to express themselves better. Learn quickly and in a short space of a few months began to communicate his needs. She loves playing with human brothers acquired, and often the furnishings of the house suffered significant material deformation. Clever, skillful, becomes more and more clever, even his body begins to harden. Nim is now too big for this family, sooobbh! / Is then transferred into a large house owned by Columbia University. But why is relieved of Jennie LaFarge? According to the prof. Terrace LaFarge has the whole family against Nim a more libertine "educational". Responsible for this are a number of students, the first of these Laura-Ann Petitto /, which according to the LaFarge seems to have been chosen especially for his physique. For each of them, Nim leaves indelible marks on the skin of his canines, especially when it senses a dangerous situation for him.
    At the age of five years, has gained "only" a vocabulary of more than 130 words and no grammar, too little to continue the experiment. 130 words are hardly enough to have your say in the various fields of knowledge - Sigh! The experiment is over. The new residence of Nim is in a primate research center in Oklahoma. In this place will have to learn to live with his fellows who had never seen before. Bum! Bum! Benedict homo sapiens sapiens. / A decision is a disaster!
    Having gained some 'of human culture allows Nim, in the reception center, to institute positive relationships with the security personnel, maintenance and so forth. With them, from time to time, drinking beer and does not mind the smoke. This structure has to deal with its budget, which red for some time, hopefully in a shower of green dollars. The rain did not arrive. Nim is so sold to a laboratory that is interested in scientific research applied to drugs located in upstate New York. Yuck!
    Nim does not know the drumbeat of human metaphor. The news of his current state is highlighted by the press and is a lawyer out of the norm as they do to give him the freedom he deserves. Nim is purchased from an animal rights activist and taken to a shelter in Texas. There he remained until his death from cardiac arrest in 2000.
    Nim has surely forgiven, but many humans who have had contact with him scientific cooperation, more or less long, probably still suffer from insomnia so obsessed by his face.
  2. Jul 16, 2011
    Although a bit overly manipulative and melodramatic, this is nevertheless a fascinating and heart-wrenching story, particularly for those of us who knew only about the scientific debate over the nature and origins of language that was the initial impetus for the Nim study. The participants/characters are amazingly forthcoming; and the disconnect between the scientific background of the project and the human (and chimp) stories "behind the scenes" couldn't be more striking or more telling. It is a movie that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally powerful. (Note: it is also rather disconcerting to see the major discrepancy between the reviews of male and female users on IMDB, although men come out as both heroes and villains in the movie!) Expand
  3. Jun 18, 2012
    The documentary which portrays the loveliness and unconditional state of an animal which is also capable of transformed into something unimaginable. At the same time reflects the selfishness, horribleness of how people took advantage of this helpless chimp and reflects an aspect of the Collapse
  4. Feb 19, 2012
    Nah. I only feel compelled to write a review just to balance out the score. I didnt learn anything. There is a story but its certainly not gripping. Its a back page column stretched to a movie and it shows. Expand
  5. Jun 19, 2013
    Absolutely heart-wrenching to see how humans can take a baby away from a wailing mother, traquilize gun her after they took away 6 other babies away also..for the sake of research to "train" him to be like a human?! Frickin scientists..there should be laws against this, and they should be charged with animal abuse. ..And how would they like to be thrown in cages to be tasered and experimented on? There should also be a ban against chimps used to act film as well. What gives us the right to take them away from their freedom and family in the wild? Imagine these actions were done to humans by another life form, taken away from their family and life, and made to be like the other life form? ..Something to think about... Expand
  6. Jan 9, 2013
    After watching Project Nim I felt the real study was on human nature and not the nature of the tormented chimps. The only factual interest that gave me a different opinion of chimps throughout this whole film was when the female asked Nim to share and he did. Other than that I felt that this callous human dominated realm was repulsive and with no self reflection or compassion.(cept one man in the film) I think it shows the ugly side of man and being a person with active Hep C, I feel that I no longer want the treatment as apes should not be the slaves to our greedy selfish lives. If we want to torment and cause sufferage to life then it should only be towards our own mankind (which in fact are animals just the same ) I appreciated the honesty in the film but never felt that the humans learned anything. As long as humans feel superior and look at themselves above all other life on the planet earth I feel that no succesful progress can infiltrate this collapsing ecosystem that we face in the near future. As a rule I think knowlege should preach " What's good for all is good for one". I feel that all who were invovled in this process and how this movie profitted is a universal sin on a level far greater than human experience can be justified. This film represents the bile that human existence represents. Expand


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