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Project Nim (2011)

PG-13 | | Documentary | 12 August 2011 (UK)
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Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 15 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nim Chimpsky ...
Himself (archive footage)
Stephanie LaFarge ...
Herself
Herbert Terrace ...
Himself
Wer LaFarge ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jenny Lee ...
Herself
Laura-Ann Petitto ...
Herself
Bill Tynan ...
Himself
Joyce Butler ...
Herself
Renne Falitz ...
Herself
Bob Ingersoll ...
Himself
Alyce Moore ...
Herself
James Mahoney ...
Himself (as Dr. James Mahoney)
Henry Herrmann ...
Himself
Cleveland Amory ...
Himself (archive footage)
Marion Probst ...
Herself
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Storyline

From the Oscar-winning team behind MAN ON WIRE comes the story of Nim, the 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. Following Nim's extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, the film is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about his true nature - and indeed our own - is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, drug content, thematic elements and disturbing images | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

12 August 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Le Projet Nim  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$25,820 (USA) (8 July 2011)

Gross:

$410,077 (USA) (9 December 2011)
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Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode dated 17 December 2014 (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An engaging and powerful film.
28 March 2013 | by (Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

This is the true story of what happened when a baby chimp, Nim, it taken from his mother and placed with a human family. He is taught sign language by a series of carers before becoming too big and dangerous around the age of 5 at which time he is returned to the ranch he was taken from.

There is a huge amount going on in this documentary as the carers over the years are interviewed with footage from the time. What emerges will probably anger and sadden most viewers. Though I felt that Nim's carers genuinely bonded with him what emerges is a largely a tale of careless cruelty.

Equally interesting and perhaps the root cause of what happens later is the relationships between the humans. Particularly between the project leader Professor Herbert Terrance and the numerous attractive research assistants. There are several references to the power he held and exercised. Overall it has to be said he does not emerge from this film as either likable or particularly competent.

The various approaches of the teachers and carers differ so widely and even though there is much happy footage you have to wonder at the effect this had on Nim. I was left with the feeling that he eventually responded best to the people who recognised him as a chimp but still treated him as a companion within the limits this imposed.

This is a powerful film that should be shown as widely as possible and would probably be good thing to included in school curricular.


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