#GigiAndNate – Movie Review

Gigi & Nate – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 54 minutes

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Carolyn enters a petting zoo in California, which doubles as a traveling circus, and finds a scared capuchin monkey named Gigi. She coaxes the primate out of her corner and into a cage. Carolyn and her facility spend years training Gigi to become a service monkey. 

Nate stood at the top of a cliff and jumped into the water while his friend, Benji, filmed it. A few days later, Nate celebrates the 4th of July with his mother, Claire, grandmother, Mama Blanche, and sisters, Katy and Annabelle. His father, Dan, couldn’t make it because thunderstorms delayed his flight. After some fun at the lake, Nate and Katy come home for dinner. Nate tells Claire he isn’t feeling well, and she tells him to take some aspirin. Before dinner is over, Nate is in the bathroom, burning up, and vomiting. They rush Nate to the hospital, and the doctors run tests. However, Claire refuses to let the local doctor perform a spinal tap. So they airlift Nate to a larger hospital. There, doctors diagnose Nate with meningitis. It caused Nate’s brain to swell, and now Nate can barely move his arms and legs. 

Four years later, Nate, in a wheelchair, attempts to end his life. Dan saves him, and Claire makes a phone call to Carolyn. Carolyn tells Claire that Gigi is ready to help Nate, but it will take time for Gigi to adjust to Nate, Nate’s surroundings, and Nate’s needs. After some time together, Gigi and Nate are best friends, and Gigi helps with Nate’s therapy. Nate’s “tail recovery” astounds doctors. Nate takes Gigi everywhere for newfound independence. As they walk up and down the grocery aisles, a woman, Chloe, approaches Nate about Gigi. Nate explains that Gigi isn’t a pet; she is a service animal. However, Chloe tells Nate and Claire that having Gigi around food products is against the law. Nate apologizes and leaves, but Claire gives Chloe a stern warning. After a party, social media, and beer pong, animal rights activists want to take Gigi away from Nate. They believe primates are a danger to society and shouldn’t be indentured servants. Nate needs to convince the court that Gigi is safe and capuchins are suitable service animals. 

Gigi and Nate’s writers give viewers time to understand and appreciate the bond between a human and primate with wit, patience, and curious moments. The director zoomed into Gigi’s eyes to allow viewers to understand the intelligence and depth behind them. And yes, the story is about Gigi, but it does not put the sole focus on her. It allows Nate’s older sister, Katy, and parents, Claire and Dan, to connect with the audience and share their personal struggles. This movie also touches on two issues plaguing the U.S. First, busybodies that cast judgment and use police as a weapon. Second, the court of public opinion acts too harshly and quickly to summarize information about Nate and Gigi. Let’s not forget Mama Blanche. She serves comic relief during each of her scenes. This movie will make your frustration grow while you laugh. However, it doesn’t offer an update for the actual Nate and Gigi. Also, the edits and CGI of the monkey versus dog chase lack the technical know-how and take the viewers out of the movie experience.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I’ll just stay here and day drink with grandma – Annabelle

I got you – Dan

You always were my favorite – Mama Blanche

Don’t leave Nathanael. You do not have my permissions – Katy

Why isn’t any saying it? Nate is going to be ok – Claire

You’re hungry. Please be hungry. You better eat right now – Nate

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