Koko, le gorille qui parle (Koko, a Talking Gorilla) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Koko, le gorille qui parle (Koko, a Talking Gorilla) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 13, 2007
This is a truly fascinating and incredible study. Koko is a truly amazing creature. I strongly recommend "A Conversation with Koko" as well if you get the chance.
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2006
An interesting documentary following the education of a gorilla who can communicate via simple sign language. The film raises questions on the ethical treatment of animals, as well as teaching us how smart apes really are. At times enfuriating, but also very sweet. The documentary doesn't judge those doing the experiment, or give us answers. It's all on us. Fascinating if a little short and repetitive in places.
January 1, 2013
I remember the book Koko's Kitten. Who knew a really good documentary about Koko existed? It is fascinating to watch the gorilla get down with sign language.
August 17, 2010
For a documentary, this is fairly standard, but the subject is more fascinating than any documentary I've ever seen.

It's impossible to imagine anyone watching this and not coming away with the conclusion that that teaching a gorilla is not a gimmick. This animal not only communicates with her trainer, but also other trainers and even other gorillas. By doing things like combining signs so she can better express herself, she should prove beyond a doubt that she is an intelligent being.

Again, it might not be a particularly well constructed documentary, but the subject is so engaging, it's tough to avoid.
½ January 21, 2010
A compelling documentary, though perhaps not for the reasons Schroeder intends. There's no denying Koko possesses intelligence, she does communicate on some level. But what's more striking are the MANY instances where her trainer obviously fills in the gaps for her, guides her answers, or creatively interprets her fumblings as conversation. After a while you get the feeling that all Koko ever really talks about is wanting more food or being tired of the training.
October 19, 2008
Really interesting doc on a gorilla taught sign language by scientists. Makes me want to rewatch PROJECT X, oddly enough.
June 28, 2008
I'm so fascinated by this story. Is it possible to teach another species to communicate its thoughts and emotions? If it is possible, then we need to seriously reevaluate how we treat/look at nature. Now I'm not completely convinced that Koko really knows what she's saying. It appears that she signs to just get a treat. But Penny Patterson has said that Koko has signed many times without expecting a treat. And a few years ago, AOL had an online chat with Koko. If you read the transcript, it appears that Koko says the same things over and over (like 'lip' and 'nipple' - which, according to Patterson, is how Koko refers to people), and Patterson constantly explains the meaning behind what Koko is saying. So, again, does Koko completely understand what she's saying? Who knows, really. That aside, this documentary is quite engaging. It's amazing to watch this gorilla interact with people. Sometimes Koko acts like a person. Although, Barbet Schroeder has said that Koko acted differently when the cameras were rolling. Anyway, I love the interview with the Zoo keeper as well. He makes a good case about why Koko should remain in a gorilla society, and not brought into our society. But it's not cruelty to animals by any means. It's obvious Koko is loved. And always will be loved. And it's hard to watch this documentary and not fall in love with Koko yourself.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2008
One of the most interesting subjects for a documentary that I've seen. But the film is in the awkward position of feeling like it could be both tightened and/or expanded upon. The characters also deserve a lot of credit but also more time.
February 21, 2013
Endlessly fascinating and beautifully photographed by the master, Nestor Almendros.
½ February 17, 2013
An interesting, thought-provoking film.
May 15, 2012
How far can communication go to blur the line between animal and man?
January 1, 2013
I remember the book Koko's Kitten. Who knew a really good documentary about Koko existed? It is fascinating to watch the gorilla get down with sign language.
May 10, 2011
This is just utterly fascinating. I've also seen the more recent documentary of Koko as an adult. People so easily forget that animals have thoughts and feelings, and this film that shows that we are no better than them.
½ March 21, 2011
If I knew that what I took away from this was the intended effect, would give 4 stars. But I think it's an incidental reading as a result of the passage of time.
½ November 12, 2010
penny patterson is sooo lucky! like the surprise at 20 mins into 55 min movie
August 25, 2010
I remember the book Koko's Kitten. Who knew a really good documentary about Koko existed. It is fascinating to watch the gorilla get down with sign language
August 17, 2010
For a documentary, this is fairly standard, but the subject is more fascinating than any documentary I've ever seen.

It's impossible to imagine anyone watching this and not coming away with the conclusion that that teaching a gorilla is not a gimmick. This animal not only communicates with her trainer, but also other trainers and even other gorillas. By doing things like combining signs so she can better express herself, she should prove beyond a doubt that she is an intelligent being.

Again, it might not be a particularly well constructed documentary, but the subject is so engaging, it's tough to avoid.
½ January 21, 2010
A compelling documentary, though perhaps not for the reasons Schroeder intends. There's no denying Koko possesses intelligence, she does communicate on some level. But what's more striking are the MANY instances where her trainer obviously fills in the gaps for her, guides her answers, or creatively interprets her fumblings as conversation. After a while you get the feeling that all Koko ever really talks about is wanting more food or being tired of the training.
December 1, 2009
enjoyable documentary done properly, objectively and artistically. dr. penny patterson, koko's surrogate mother of sorts, never comes off timothy treadwell-level; koko's still treated as a gorilla albeit a gifted gorilla. barbet schroeder did an excellent job focusing on the koko and her relationship with patterson, acknowledging issues such as patterson's safety and the definition of "human" without taking an activist stance. there are legitimate arguments on any sides of these issues represented, and i applaud schroeder for keeping the camera as neutral as possible.
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