GIGI & NATE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

GIGI & NATE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

Gigi & Nate is the new film from Irish-born filmmaker Nick Hamm. In it, he tells a story based on the real-life capuchin monkey support animal that helped change the life of a young, paralyzed man.   

Nate Gibson (Charlie Rowe) was a bright, energetic eighteen-year-old boy just weeks from leaving for college. Due to a diving incident, he nearly dies and is left paralyzed. Life for him and his family is turned upside down. His mother, Claire (Marcia Gay Harden), and father, Dan Gibson (Jim Belushi), do what it takes to set him up at home to deal with his situation. His grandmother Mama Blanche (Diane Ladd) and sisters Lori (Zoe Margaret Colletti) and Katy (Josephine Langford) have a front-row seat to his struggle with agonizing pain. His personal courage and inner strength are challenged with his will to live tested daily. He doesn’t know how to live like this or move forward. 

His help and catalyst for change came in a furry package with a sweet face. Nate is provided with a service animal. Not just a pet or companion, but a living, cognizant, and highly trained capuchin monkey named Gigi. She can help with the basic needs of everyday life. With Gigi’s support and encouragement, they form a loving friendship. As a result, Nate finally grows in his capacity to hope for something beyond his chair.  

Everything is going great until an overzealous animal rights advocate Chloe Gaines (Welker White), sets her sights on Nate and Gigi. She and her screaming angry crowds go to war against Nate and his family. She uses them as a case in court to help change the laws against service animals using monkeys. Unfortunately, Chloe turns a blind eye to the toll it will take on Nate and Gigi, who have bonded with each other. 

At its heart, Gigi & Nate explores the whole family’s reaction to a heartbreaking tragedy. And by having cross-generational performers, ranging from teenagers to grandparents, the movie was able to cast some seasoned actors and actresses. Including the legendary Diane Ladd, who plays Mama Blanche. When asked about how she felt about making this film with director Nick Hamm, she is quoted as saying: 

“This picture was fun to do because we’ve got good people,” Ladd said. “We’ve got some old war horses here that love the work, not necessarily the business, but the work – and the work we do is precious. I am thrilled Nick chose me to be a part of this film. I think he’s making a great film, not just a good film. I think he’s making a great film and one that even children can go see and learn from. These kinds of pictures are lights in the tunnel.” 

I give Gigi & Nate 4-stars. It’s a feel-good family film with a memorable soundtrack that will make you feel glad they are still making these kinds of films in Hollywood.


Directed by: Nick Hamm

Written by: David Hudgins

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4 Stars

Running Time: 114min

Biopic/ Drama

Wide Release: In Theaters only Sept 2nd

Starring: Charlie Rowe, Marcia Gay Harden, Jim Belushi, Diane Ladd, Josephine Langford


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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