Watch | 13. Oct 2022

Men´s Best Therapist?

There was an impressively fragile lady that entered the stage before the movie started. Not the director or an actor or a screenwriter that usually introduce their work to the Zurich Film Festival audience - but executive producer Marie-Christine Jaeger-Firmenich; her family owns one of the biggest beauty-scent-productions in the world.

In 2004 she founded "Robmar", an NGO, named after her parents´first names, to support the exploration of the connection between men and beast, namely the training of animals to support men. So called assistance or rescue animals.

As I am a witness of two of those sensitive relationships (one of them a guide dog of a blind friend) I support the whole idea, even though I am well aware of tons of arguments against it.

The film “Gigi & Nate” tells the true story of an 18-year-old who becomes a quadriplegic after contracting meningitis from a lake swim. Unable to eat, sleep or do everyday tasks without help and crushing pain, the Nashville-based Nate (Charlie Rowe) struggles with depression until Gigi, a capuchin monkey, transforms his life.

Gigi’s effect on Nate is touching. Once she warms to him, she operates his phone, flips through the pages of the books as he reads and helps him with physical therapy, imbuing him with a renewed zest for life.

There are also some high jinks and a college party where Gigi goes viral.

These antics earn the ire of local animal rights activists, who show up to Nate’s house to protest. And even though there is a happy ending you stay behind with mixed feelings: Rather than offer insights into the difficult choices concerning disabled people, “Gigi & Nate” opts for mawkish wish fulfillment, undercutting the film’s powerful emotional core.

So, no, it is definitely not a good movie. But you might checkout the "Robmar" foundation instead.

You will find the distinctive discussion and scientific support right there.