Project Nim


(out of 5)

“It was the seventies!” is a terrific excuse for the experimental folly that is detailed in this incredibly entertaining documentary by James Marsh, director of the Oscar-winning Man On Wire. It follows a poorly supervised study begun by Dr.  to chart the similarities between humans and apes, by having a family raise a chimpanzee in their home as if he were one of their own children and see if it develops an aptitude for human language. Almost from the beginning there are numerous issues: Nim, the subject in question, does not get along with his initial adopted father, eventually as he grows he physically becomes a problem (chimpanzees pack quite a bite), and then changes in funding authority dictate that he be moved to various facilities before finally finding a home at a ranch facility not that far above a very comfortable zoo. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and rarely has it been described on film so accurately, with Marsh contributing energetic direction and Dickon Hinchliffe a gorgeous musical score to accompany the lively interviews and rich stock footage.

, ,

United Kingdom/USA, 2011

Directed by James Marsh

Based on the book Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Sundance 2011

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

National Board Of Review Award
Top Five Documentaries

Directors Guild Award
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary (James Marsh)

British Academy Award Nomination
Best Documentary Film

Toronto Film Critics Award Nomination
Allan King Documentary Award

Sundance Film Festival Award
Directing Award, World Cinema-Documentary (James Marsh)

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Documentary

Chicago Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Documentary



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