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Project Nim (2011)

 PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006DBY6GE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,749 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From the Oscar® -winning team behind MAN ON WIRE comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark 1970s experiment to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. But as Nim's natural instincts take over and the humans trusted with his well-being fail to protect him, PROJECT NIM uncovers the unflinching and extraordinary journey of one animal thrust into human society.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nim gives a lesson in human arrogance December 28, 2011
I remember the first time I held a chimp's hand. The first touch between human and ape fingers establishes a connection, and you never forget the soft leathery feel of a chimpanzee's palm. What should be an ordinary sensation is not. It is unforgettable and forever.

The problem arises when the chimp-human connection becomes subject to human arrogance, sometimes cloaked in love, other times defined by science, and often supported by stupidity.

Project Nim is the true story of a chimpanzee who was taken from his mother to participate in a 1970s university research project on communications. The movie has all three components: love, science, and stupidity, all adding up to a level of human arrogance that is almost incomprehensible.

Nim's story begins at an Oklahoma primate research project, when the mother chimpanzee, Carolyn, is shot with a tranquilizer so the research director can grab Carolyn's sixth newborn, Nim, as they stole all the others. Nim goes from his mother's arms, to adored and beloved "child" of a human mother, to precocious subject of young college students' attention, to an independent young male actually starting to act like a chimpanzee. All along the way, we hear directly from the people who played the supporting roles in Nim's young life. As I listened to them tell their stories, from their perspectives, I could identify with their good intentions.

And arrogance. A university researcher who doesn't believe the "science" was compromised when he seduced the project's sweet teenage "education director." A college graduate who lets a chimpanzee nurse from her breast for months, and then years later thinks she can walk into the (by now) adult chimp's cage, when he is screaming and "displaying," and thinks the chimpanzee won't hurt her.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Engaging, Unbearably Tragic February 17, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
About half way through the fascinating, absorbing and unsettling PROJECT NIM, a tear-stained former female caretaker of the chimp looks right into the camera and states "Shame on us." That sense of shame at humanity's awesome hubris is just one of several very strong emotions that filmmaker James Marsh effectively evokes in a film that asks some very big questions, even as it moves and breaks your heart.

Poor Nim. From the day he was torn from his mother's devastated arms, he was unwittingly entwined with human machinations he could never understand nor hope to escape. For an animal lover, it's hard to watch his tragedy unfold, yet also impossible not to watch its moments of sheer joy and revelation; and impossible not to want to comprehend what happened and what it all meant . . . for us, for science and for Nim.

Some might take issue with Marsh's playful directing, which fuses some rather graphic and overtly dramatic recreations with real documentary footage. But I felt he did a great job of allowing the audience to feel what Nim's caretakers appear to have felt -- charmed, seduced, amused, uncertain, sometimes frightened, and often too caught up in their amazing relationship with a wild animal to perceive the moral dangers or eventual consequences.

The film brings up many intriguing issues -- questions about the nature and purpose of language (did scientists really believe that intelligent animals who for millions of years experienced the world without language were going to learn a few signs and suddenly express to us everything they are thinking?); questions about academic and sexual power (the skeevy Herb and his phalanx of fresh-faced, sexy girls is really something!); questions about the shaky moral ground of animal experimentation of all kinds.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For a wide audience December 9, 2011
Project Nim is a fascinating video comprised from wonderfully logged archives of videos, along with more recent interviews from his caretakers: past and present. It's a great documentary that you don't need to be a naturalist or linguist to enjoy. I enjoyed the "science" from the film, my 9 year old daughter felt the story, and my wife felt so bad for Nim she could barely watch - but did so with great interest. A couple of days later we still find ourselves discussing Nim in the household.

This resource would be a great one for a range of classes, in various educational settings, from kindergarten to graduate school.

The story of Nim, as revealed here, will engaged the viewer with questions: from the nature of language, to the linguistic capacities of "other animals", along with the humane treatment of subjects used in clinical and experimental research. I appreciate the honesty put forth in the documentary as there are aspects of Nim's treatment that will certainly irk you. At the same time as being irked by what had been done to Nim, I feel that many of the decisions made are understandable in the light of events that arose (i.e. Nim badly injuring his volunteer caretakers). One could have simple reported the cute and cuddly successful sides to this story - but thankfully the rougher edges were presented giving us what feels like a complete picture of Nim's life. Nim is an animal and had violent instinctive behavior from time to time. Behavior that made coexistence with its human animal compatriot difficult. I am not suggesting in any negative way that this is Nim's fault, the experimental design was new and did not anticipate such catastrophic encounters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars His story is very sad about the future of primates when they become...
I thought little Nim did very well in communicating with humans. His story is very sad about the future of primates when they become too big and dangerous to live with people.
Published 18 days ago by Millicent Aynes
5.0 out of 5 stars The received time was amazing. This movie is a real heart jerker
The received time was amazing. This movie is a real heart jerker. Makes you realize how much of what our actions with animals really do to their well being and emotions. Read more
Published 1 month ago by diana molina clark
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad audio
The audio is out of balance.

The background music is way too loud.

The dialogue is very hard to hear. Read more
Published 3 months ago by lk
5.0 out of 5 stars really extensive
There is a tremendous amount of material it seems in this documentary and after watching it, it had an impact on me for a few days.
Published 6 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary and important documentation
Why are ethical and moral decisions so important when we consider "research and business". this is a real look at the problems we have created by giving power to people who are... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Marilyn K. Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Life 'Planet of the Apes'
'Nim' is the story of a chimpanzee that is raised from infancy with humans, with the goal being to teach him sign language and see if humans can communicate with chimpanzees. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Frank L. Urbano
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Nim..abused for a Project.
Absolutely heart-wrenching to see how humans can take a baby away from a wailing mother, traquilize gun her after they took away 6 other babies away also.. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Brenda
5.0 out of 5 stars Project Nim
I bought this dvd as a source for my final project in Psychology and fell in love with it ...I have showed my whole family this film it is wonderful .... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
We missed this when it was in theaters, it was a great documentary type of movie! We are glad we bought it!
Published 18 months ago by James L. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and must-see
This is a painful, powerful documentary to watch and, frankly, kind of a must-see for that very reason. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Meg Brunner
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