“Gigi & Nate” begins with two leaps. The first is out of terror, when Gigi, a capuchin monkey at a sad-sack roadside petting zoo, tries to steer clear of her “caretaker.” The second is the sweet leap of boy-joy that 17-year-old Nate Gibson takes off a rocky ledge and into a pond. In this amiable, if unnecessarily manipulative, movie about the human-animal bond — as well as the different forms resilience can take — that fateful second leap will lead the young man and the monkey to each other.
Gigi is rescued by a woman who works for an organization that provides service animals to people with disabilities. Nate (played by British rising star Charlie Rowe) is initially not so fortunate. Shortly after that dive, as he and his family ready for a Fourth of July celebration at their vacation cabin, he begins to feel increasingly lousy. Working from a screenplay by TV scribe David Hudgins, director Nick Hamm takes his time with the slowly receding mystery of what’s ailing the spirited teen. He’s trying to be his usual charming self, even sweet-talking local girl Lori (Zoe Colletti) into a boat ride, but as the day progresses his head swims, then pounds. Then the chills and a seizure hit him…..