Parents' Guide to

Gigi & Nate

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Disability-focused story is more drama than monkey business.

Movie PG-13 2022 114 minutes
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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.

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