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Projeto NIM

Project Nim (2011)


98Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 114
Fresh: 112 | Rotten: 2

Equal parts hilarious, poignant, and heartbreaking, Project Nim not only tells a compelling story masterfully, but also raises the flag on the darker side of human nature.


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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 5,718




From the 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. — (C) Roadside Attractions

PG-13, 1 hr. 33 min.

DocumentaryArt House & International

 James Marsh

 Jul 8, 2011 Limited


Roadside Attractions

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (112) | Rotten (2)

Marsh … masterfully spins a harrowing tale of human arrogance that eventually gives way to cruelty bordering on the pathological.

July 21, 2011Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comment

Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nim is as unforgettable as the treatment of him is unspeakable.

July 21, 2011Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Comment

Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 19, 2011Full Review Source: Associated Press | Comment

Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 14, 2011Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Comment

Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Marsh tells this story clearly and sympathetically, and he has the backlog of film and the witnesses to do so.

July 14, 2011Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comment

Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 14, 2011Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comment

Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

…succeeds as theater, as entertainment, but it doesn’t really attempt what Terrace tried, in his admittedly morally clumsy way. What is the light in those feral eyes and what does it mean? Can we ever hope to know?

October 1, 2011Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Comment

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The film teases us with a paradox: arguably Nim’s keepers were wrong to try to endow their protege with human attributes, but can we empathise with his suffering without making the same mistake?

September 30, 2011Full Review Source: The Age (Australia) | Comment

The Age (Australia)

Funny at times, but also deeply sad, it’s a truly fascinating and well made documentary.

September 29, 2011Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia) | Comment

At the Movies (Australia)

Marsh’s film is as much a study of how we behave as a species as it is of what happens to Nim. And we don’t come off particularly well.

September 29, 2011Full Review Source: The Age (Australia) | Comment

The Age (Australia)

Project Nim tells a sweet, strange and sad story of an incredible creature that will touch even the hardest of hearts.

September 29, 2011Full Review Source: Trespass | Comment


A bizarre, captivating and somewhat sad new documentary.

September 29, 2011Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia) | Comment

Herald Sun (Australia)

Driven by James Marsh’s measured storytelling style, this ethically unsettling and emotionally compelling documentary is the equal of any cinematic epic.

September 29, 2011Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia) | Comment

FILMINK (Australia)

A thought-proving and entirely moving portrait of human arrogance — in general and with some very, very specific examples.

September 23, 2011Full Review Source: Times-Picayune | Comment


Marsh knows this material is explosive, so he presents it simply and with little sentiment (against all odds, “Nim” is frequently very funny).

September 16, 2011Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Comment

St. Paul Pioneer Press

For a movie about an ape, it sheds an interesting light on humanity. Animals may be wild, but only humans are cruel.

September 8, 2011Full Review Source: Quickflix | Comment

Project Nim doesn’t try to reconcile its different understandings of Nim — as an experiment, a child, a projection of various selves, and a complex, independent being.

September 8, 2011Full Review Source: PopMatters | Comment


Marsh is too content framing the entire film around the narrative spun by its subjects, rather than stamping his own authorship on the film, and as a result it lacks the power and depth of his previous work.

September 2, 2011Full Review Source: Fan The Fire | Comment

Fan The Fire

After watching this eye-opening documentary, one almost hopes for a rebellion of the chimpanzees like the one seen in the latest installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise.

August 16, 2011Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews | Comment


About as far as you can get from cinéma vérité in its artful combination of archive material, existing documentary footage, newly filmed interviews and dramatic reconstruction, to trace Nim’s strange progress.

August 15, 2011Full Review Source: Observer [UK] | Comment

Observer [UK]

Despite some heartbreak in the last half, this film brims with humanity and some priceless humour, too.

August 12, 2011Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK] | Comment

Daily Mirror [UK]

This many-faceted time capsule sheds little light, but buried inside it are vexing questions and the still-beating heart of a special creature.

August 12, 2011Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comment

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Marsh, who made the multi-awarded Man on a Wire, takes no sides but lets the humans speak for themselves, rum lot that they are.

August 12, 2011Full Review Source: This is London | Comment

This is London

More Critic Reviews

Audience Reviews for Project Nim

Documentary about Nim, a chimp who was raised as a human, taught sign language, and then abandoned and shuffled around to a series of temporary homes, unsuited to fit into either the human or ape worlds. Thought-provoking, and one of the most emotionally affecting movies of the year; fans of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE … more

September 23, 2011


Greg S

Super Reviewer

James Marsh who directed Man on Wire, the 2008 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, turns his attention to a study in which a baby chimpanzee was raised and nurtured like a human child. Conducted by Herbert S. Terrace, professor of psychology at Columbia University in the early 1970s, the thesis was predicated on … more

July 20, 2011


Super Reviewer

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