I have to preface this review by saying that I cried through most of the movie like really cried. I am an animal lover, so if there is an animal in a movie, I am gonna fall in love with that animal, and GiGi and Nate was no different.
We start off GiGi and Nate, learning where GiGi, the capuchin, comes from and how she ultimately ends up being trained as a service animal. Then we meet Nate, a young guy, full of life and about to jump off a huge cliff into the water below (which feels like a metaphor for jumping into the unknown). Once Nate jumps in it changes his life forever. I thought for sure this is where his disability comes in because we see him in a wheelchair in the trailer, but as you will see, it does lead to it.
Nate, played by Charlie Rowe ends up paralyzed and is pretty much at the mercy of his family and a nurse to take care of him. This is hard to watch because as any of us with children can attest, seeing our children hurt in any kind of way is heart-wrenching. All you want to do is make it better and this is just what Marcia Gay Hardin, and Jim Belushi, who play his parents, do. They try and make it better but boy did I feel their pain, these two actors nailed the emotion behind this, and their pain is palpable. Just as Charlie Rowe captured the pain and sadness that I can only imagine a person sentenced to a wheelchair must feel.
Seeing how deep into depression Nate was falling, his parents get him a capuchin as a service animal, her name, GiGi, the rescue we saw at the beginning.
GiGi doesn’t quite know what to make of Nate, and first stays in her cage and doesn’t help much but after time, she warms up and is an invaluable asset to Nate, who for the first time in a long time is actually smiling and laughing. That is until a busybody woman spot Nate with GiGi and tried to have her taken away and have capuchins banned from being service animals.
“She gave us the one thing we needed most…hope.”
This movie is one that shows the power of love between parents and a child and the powerful love and connection between a human and an animal. It is an emotional ride, but well worth it.
See GIGI & NATE in theaters on September 2, 2022.
Directed by Nick Hamm
Written by David Hudgins
Starring Marcia Gay Harden, Charlie Rowe, Josephine Langford, Hannah Riley, Zoe Colletti, Jim Belushi, and Diane Ladd
114 Minutes | Rated PG-13