Primate Rescue Center

Project Nim: A Shattering Documentary about a Chimpanzee Raised as a Human

April Truitt July 08, 2011

Project Nim, a documentary from James Marsh, director of the Academy Award-winning Man on Wire, isn't a heartwarming comedy about a group of furry beasts who use their newfound power of language to help their caretaker find love with Rosario Dawson. It's a gripping, unsentimental, at times unbearably sad real-life drama about an animal torn from his own world and stranded in the human one.

I could wish Project Nim were a different movie—longer and more information-dense, with fewer poorly signposted re-enactments and self-conscious directorial flourishes. But I'll be forever grateful to this movie for introducing me to Nim's story, a tale so powerful and suggestive that it functions as a myth about the ever-mysterious relationship between human beings and animals. Are we more like them than we can ever know, or more different?


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