Friday, October 7, 2011

The Elephant Man

It's funny once you think of it. David Lynch is renowned for making freaky movies, and one of his earliest movies was about one of the most famous circus freaks in history.

I'm of course referring to The Elephant Man. Lynch doesn't portray Joseph "John" Merrick (John Hurt) as a freak of nature but more as a being confusing the rest of society. When people first see Merrick, their response is usually that of shock. (Frederick Treves' (Anthony Hopkins) reaction to first seeing Merrick is my favorite shot in the whole film.) But they don't know what Merrick feels.

That's what makes Lynch an interesting director to watch. He is willing to explore a certain character to many extents. But he also doesn't make us completely sympathize for Merrick. He has us come to terms with our own differences with Merrick's deformity.

The Elephant Man has all of these subtle notes, it just works perfectly. Hurt plays his part wonderfully, as does Hopkins (who should have been nominated as well). If you don't feel any pangs of emotion from any scene, you are a heartless robot.

My Rating: *****


  1. I remember seeing this in the video (yes video) store when I was a kid and the cover absolutely freaking me out and scaring me.

    I really need to rewatch this one it has been too long.

    Thanks Anna!!

  2. John Hurt's performance is this is just fantastic. It's such a powerful film and one of Lynch's most accessible. It needs to be seen by more people so good to see you highlighting its virtues here.

  3. I took an ex-wife to see this and she declared it "one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen."

    I, on the other hand, found it exhilarating and Lynch's work in it fascinating. And my memory of it and being thrilled by it lives on. "Nothing ever dies."


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