17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
For a wide audience,
This review is from: Project Nim (DVD)
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. Had Nim taken on language as Columbia University had anticipated, the world would have gained a lot of knowledge from this trial. He didn't do as expected. Lessons were learned at his expense. The video documents this trial, honestly, I believe.
Nowadays I think that research-ethics-committees and protests groups would curve and influence the treatment of "modern" Nim-like cases, and this is a good development, although I am not naÔve enough to think that science and research today is 100% animal-friendly.
Understanding that this is not a Hollywood blockbuster (thankfully so) I can see how it could easily be turned into one. I like the vintage film. I like the direct approach here. If you enjoyed books and/or literature that have dealt with Nim and want to know more I think you will really like this educational film. The case is presented here in a fascinating and thoughtful way.