Earlier this year at Sundance I reviewed Project Nim and had quite a strong negative reaction to the film which you can read about and even watch in my video review. For the record I watch a LOT of films, upward of 200 new releases a year, and this was one of the only films I’ve ever considered walking out of… and actually did for a few minutes to catch my breathe. Though the film was well made, it was nearly impossible to sit and watch mankind act so horrifically stupid towards an animal and then pretend as if they were doing something good. To make matters worse, at the end of the film there was no call to action, it gave no way to make the situation better. It simply stated a horrible situation that you were shown and then made to live with it.
But since then my opinion of the film has progressed…
Now that I’ve had some time, I can say that despite my complaints, I support the film because for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it keeps us from repeating the same mistakes. No one will go home feeling like Nim was treated fairly. The film takes a strong stand, and it relentlessly reminds us why we have to keep questioning ourselves and knowing our own limitations.
Secondly, whether it be a chimp or a college kid buying a dog he can’t take care of – animals need proper care and you have to listen to what they need in order to do right by there.
Thirdly, to my issue about the lack of a call to action in the film, I have to succumbed to the conclusion that what the film is trying to say is that there aren’t always answers and perhaps the idea of not giving people the easy way to feel better by “I donated $10 via text, I’m a good person” will evoke something greater. Perhaps it will give the audience the type of reaction that I had and make them want to fight back. My way of fighting — writing this and reaching out. Your way — maybe not buying animal tested make-up? Maybe protesting? I can’t support the following, but if someone broke down the walls of an animal clinic and saved all the animals and found them proper homes I wouldn’t complain! Though if you do, do that, take a note from this film YOUR HOME is not the proper home for a wild animal — that only works if you’re Ace Ventura.
So, know that if you’re an animal lover you will cry, you will want to yell at the people in the film (who by the way, all stood up in front of the audience which you can see in the picture above at Sundance and apologized for their role in Nim’s life), and hopefully it will help you find something or someone to do something nice for.
And on the plus side the film is really well made, so at least you won’t be pissed off about the plot and story-arch!
Project Nim hits a limited numbers of theaters July 7th