Project Nim - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Project Nim Reviews

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David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
January 4, 2012
This haunting life story is an exquisite example of non-fiction filmmaking as full-bodied, emotionally complex drama.
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Leah Rozen
TheWrap
October 7, 2011
Project Nim nimbly serves up a profoundly sad tale that raises as many thought-provoking questions as it answers.
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 12, 2011
This many-faceted time capsule sheds little light, but buried inside it are vexing questions and the still-beating heart of a special creature.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
August 11, 2011
You end up fearing for the humans who contact him. At the same time, you feel his rage.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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David Jenkins
Time Out
August 9, 2011
You're left with the impression that, despite not being able to grasp basic human grammar, perhaps Nim was unwittingly conditioned into understanding the concept of love.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
July 29, 2011
For the second film in a row, Marsh has created a movie we can't keep our eyes off.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 21, 2011
Marsh ... masterfully spins a harrowing tale of human arrogance that eventually gives way to cruelty bordering on the pathological.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 21, 2011
Nim is as unforgettable as the treatment of him is unspeakable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
July 19, 2011
Like the experiment itself, "Project Nim" morphs from something inspiring and often humorous to a pointed and disturbing portrait of arrogance run amok. Greed and glory end up overriding decency and altruism, and it's heartbreaking to watch.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Leonard Maltin
indieWIRE
July 15, 2011
If movies about talking cars or warlike robots don't interest you, Project Nim is the latest documentary (following Buck) to offer a satisfying, adult alternative. It tells a story that is both stranger and more thought-provoking than...
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Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
July 15, 2011
After watching "Project Nim," a distressing portrait of a misguided 1970s language experiment, you'll be glad you're not a chimp in a cage. But you might want to revoke your membership in the human race.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
July 14, 2011
What makes this film especially engrossing is that what happened between that chimp and the humans with whom he spent his life in intimate contact turns out to be only half the story that Marsh, who directed the electrifying "Man on Wire," has to tell.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 14, 2011
Marsh tells this story clearly and sympathetically, and he has the backlog of film and the witnesses to do so.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
July 14, 2011
At times hilarious but ultimately heartbreaking, "Project Nim" is a great chronicle of the 1970s and all the nutty ideas that implies; academia in particular comes in for a hard reckoning.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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William Goss
Film.com
July 11, 2011
The film as a whole maintains a precarious but rewarding balance between multi-generational soap opera and simplistic animal-rights agitprop.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 8, 2011
For a film where so many people seem, in varying degrees, culpable, Marsh indulges in very little finger-pointing. He doesn't need to. The indignities are hiding in plain sight.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
July 8, 2011
Marsh never speaks on or off camera, but his editing of the testimony makes clear his belief that in trying to make Nim more human, his teachers made themselves less so.
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Dana Stevens
Slate
July 8, 2011
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.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
July 8, 2011
A documentary detailing man's inhumanity to beast, "Project Nim" ends up going past that to ask a deeper, disturbing question: Just who is the man, and who is the beast?
| Original Score: 4/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
July 8, 2011
If only this were a media-fueled tall tale and not one poor creature's lifelong nightmare.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
July 8, 2011
A darkly hilarious social portrait of the bizarre alternate universe of 1970s academia and an extraordinary biography of a non-human individual, on whom all sorts of human desires and ideologies were projected.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
July 8, 2011
Brilliant, provocative, clear of eye and heavy of heart...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
July 7, 2011
'Project Nim,' an enthralling and appalling documentary by James Marsh, chronicles the collision of two species.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 7, 2011
Mr. Marsh, by allowing those closest to Nim plenty of room to explain themselves, examines the moral complexity of this story without didacticism.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
July 7, 2011
Sexual politics, family dynamics, the debate over heredity versus environment, and the dubious ethics of scientific research on animals are rigorously explored in this ambitious, bittersweet work.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
July 7, 2011
A very absorbing film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 7, 2011
"Project Nim" is practically irresistible. The story keeps getting odder and richer and more complicated.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
July 7, 2011
Project Nim borrows a page or nine from the Errol Morris handbook, crafting its extraordinary story out of an operatic mix of crisply framed interviews, archival footage, and well-staged recreations.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Keith Uhlich
Time Out
July 6, 2011
The good news is that the film's stylistic excesses don't negate the many fascinating aspects of Nim's story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Rob Nelson
Village Voice
July 5, 2011
Marsh's film remains a deeply haunting portrait of the unbridgeable gap between kindred species.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 4, 2011
Marsh's documentaries are inspired fusions of content and style, and here, the artistry intensifies the pain.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
June 29, 2011
Project Nim, a fascinating and in many ways tragic documentary, takes us back to one of the high-water marks of the apes-are-people-too era.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
April 6, 2011
Here's a documentary so slick, novel, touching and outrageous that your first thought might be "This has to be fake."
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Debruge
Variety
January 22, 2011
A provocative and surprisingly emotional saga that ranges from wrenching to downright hilarious as it spans more than a quarter-century of unpredictable twists.