There’s an odd irony within the appalling trajectory of “Lucy the Human Chimp,” a documentary about an experiment that pressured a chimp to reside as a human, however resulted in requiring a human to reside as a chimp.
That may be Janis Carter, whose uncontested voice and pained options dominate the display as she narrates Lucy’s distressing story. As a pupil within the Seventies, Carter was employed as Lucy’s caretaker by the psychologists Maurice Ok. Temerlin and his spouse, Jane, who had bought the new child chimpanzee roughly a decade earlier and raised her as a human of their suburban residence.
However Lucy — who slept on a king-size mattress, communicated in signal language and blended herself a imply cocktail — had change into so giant and dangerously hormonal that the Temerlins determined she’d be higher off within the African jungle. (By no means thoughts that she was an grownup who knew nothing of the wild or different chimpanzees.) Her screaming through the flight was solely a harbinger of the torment to return.
By turns alarming and poignant, Alex Parkinson’s infuriatingly deferential movie recounts how Carter — passionately hooked up to Lucy and admittedly clueless about the best way to facilitate her adjustment — deserted her life to reside with Lucy on a distant island. Her devotion is extraordinary, however her obliviousness is surprising: For those who believed, as she did, that Lucy noticed herself as human, why would you compel her to reside as a wild animal? Neither that query, nor some other, is requested by Parkinson, who makes use of archive footage and wonder-filled re-enactments to inform what he apparently views as a love story. Possibly it’s; however it’s additionally a heart-rending story of animal struggling and human hubris.
Lucy, the Human Chimp
Not rated. Operating time: 1 hour 8 minutes. Watch on HBO Max.