A surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who'd been mistreated
in a sideshow all his life and nurtures his intelligence and humanity.
The Elephant Man (1980)
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergen, David Lynch
Starring John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones, Michael Elphick, Hannah Gordon
Based on the book by Sir Frederick Treves
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (John Hurt),
Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction,
Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing,
Best Original Score (John Morris)
I never would've expected a film this deep to come from the same man who gave us Dennis Hopper screaming obscenities through a nitrous mask. After watching this film, I doubt anybody but David Lynch could've told the story of Joseph Merrick (John, in the film) with the grace and dignity displayed in The Elephant Man, a film that tells the true story of one of history's most tragic human beings. Led by what is certainly the greatest performance in John Hurt's career, this film is an inspiring and hopeful film that teaches all who watch it to count their blessings and love people for who they are inside.
The performances in this film are fantastic, with John Hurt obviously standing out as Merrick. Anthony Hopkins portrays his doctor, Frederick Treves, a decent man who wanted to help this poor unfortunate soul he had stumbled upon in any way he could. Together, these two legendary thespians help shift this film away from standard biopic territory and turn it into a tale of one man's struggle to find his own humanity at a time when people with deformities were considered beneath normal society. In this film, Merrick is a brilliant artist and a generous, friendly man. Yet, his condition kept him from being acknowledged as anything more than a freak of nature. His constant mistreatment in the film brought tears to my eyes nearly every time.
The Elephant Man is one of David Lynch's finest films, which is such an odd thing to say because you'd never expect a film like this to come from such a weird guy. This film brought to light a story that needed to be told. It may still possess a bit of Lynch's trademarked weirdness, like the surreal opening and closing scenes, but the film itself is treated with the decency and morality that the story of the Elephant Man deserved.
This is a great film. All the technicals are just perfectly executed. David Lynch brings his traditional weirdness but this weirdness helps the storytelling and helps give a feel to the film.
The acting is flawless. John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins are two of the greatest actors of all time and give some of their best performances in this film even through 10 straight pounds of makeup.
The story is a great story about an outcast of society. I don't want to say much more because you need to go see the film. In my opinion of all of the films I have seen, this is in the top 10 best films of all time and I will stand by that fact.