Primate Rescue Center

“Project Nim” Reveals a Scientific Scandal

April Truitt July 10, 2011

The film is based on a book, Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Elizabeth Hess. The documentary was directed by James Marsh, a fine filmmaker whose earlier movie¸ Man on a Wire, proved that documentaries could be suspenseful, even when you go in knowing the outcome.

Nim’s story gets the full professional treatment in a movie that looks very good and moves the emotions too. There are some drawbacks as well. Nobody ever mentions that Nim’s name is a play onNoam Chompsky. When I first learned of the project, back in the 70s, I laughed mightily at the name, although now that I’ve seen the movie I’m a bit ashamed of myself. The name is a joke because Terrace never took Nim’s individuality seriously.


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