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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes related to human-animal bond, the value of service animals, overcoming life's curveballs, finding hope. Addresses animal rights issues.
Positive Role Models
Nate shows perseverance in working to get stronger and master fine-motor skills. His family is remarkably supportive and self-sacrificing. A love interest treats Nate the same way after the accident as she did before.
Main character has a disability. Story is focused on his challenges and experiences, as well as how his family is impacted. Many positive supporting characters are people of color.
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Violence & Scariness
Teen suffers seizures and a life-threatening medical issue. Suicide attempt by someone who later says that he's glad it didn't work. A protest gets chaotic and out of control. Glimpses of main character playing a first-person shooter video game. Daredevil stunt that results in harsh consequences. Some jokes come across as low-key workplace sexual harassment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kiss. Flirtatious behavior.
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"S--t." Suggestive jokes, one with the word "t-tties," and some which might be considered harassment.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, including a woman who drinks vodka from the bottle until she falls asleep, minors buying and drinking beer, and people doing shots at a fraternity party. A monkey drinks shots.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gigi & Nate is a drama about the value of nontraditional service animals. Kids may be interested in the film if they believe it's about having a pet monkey -- but it's not. While there are some heartwarming and adorable monkey moments, this isn't intended as a fun piece of entertainment, like many movies featuring capuchins. It's really about the difference that a trained service animal can make in the life of someone with special needs. The first half-hour is quite serious, revolving around the incident that leads to main character Nate's (Charlie Rowe) paralysis. The seizures he endures are emotional to watch, and his journey to recovery includes details of many of the challenges that someone with a disability faces every day. He demonstrates perseverance throughout, and the film has messages of hope. Expect humor about day drinking, minors buying and drinking beer, kissing, and mild but suggestive jokes that Nate makes about his physical therapist (e.g., "she likes to undress me"). There's a suicide attempt (which is later regretted), and language includes "s--t." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Nick Hamm's heartfelt but uneven drama aims to help audiences understand what it's like when your life abruptly turns upside down. It's no coincidence that the movie's action starts on the Fourth of July holiday, which celebrates independence. When Nate loses the use of his limbs, he loses his freedom as he's known it. He's no longer able to do what he wants, when he wants to, in even the smallest of ways.
Once Nate connects with Gigi, who's trained to assist him with his day-to-day needs, his outlook starts to shift. But the movie doesn't end there, since some animal protection groups see using a capuchin monkey in this way as a violation of animal rights. This kicks off a debate over the idea of keeping exotic animals in a private home, but it's unclear whether there's any activism left to take place on the topic. The film is loosely based on the book A Twig of Hope, the true story of a 22-year-old who was able to heal and progress through Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers, a now closed organization that trained and provided capuchins to help people with spinal cord injuries with their daily needs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate