The Elephant Man (1980)

by missizziemcguinness

elephant man image

‘I am not an animal. I am a human being. I am a man’

The problem with us as humans is that we do not see what is inside because from afar, because we want the cake to look nice before we eat it. Many directors have proven this and most films show it in a distinguishable way.

The Elephant Man is a true story about a deformed man called Joseph (John) Merrick  (played by John Hurt). Merrick is treated like a circus act because he is disfigured and the only person who treats him well is his doctor Fredrick Treaves (Anthony Hopkins).

This movie definitely makes you think that people judge you on your appearance in the same way nowadays as they did with Merrick (without modern further judgements on the internet or social media nowadays etc) i.e treating Merrick as if he is a monster as he is part of a ‘freak show’.  Most of the film is exaggerated or dramatized to move the story on a little, but it was thought provoking, especially the choice of black and white as it would be the sort of film which would look rubbish in colour and it would not have the same dark effect.

John Hurt is incredibly convincing  as the ‘Elephant man’, and you could come to accept him as a charecter to the point where you want you want to scream at the screen to the people who mistreat him. As John Hurt can be easily transformed because he is a conclusive actor; the makeup looked compelling and sometimes I didn’t know that it was him. As for Anthony Hopkins, I expected him to walk in and say ‘Hello Clarice’ about 11 years too early but he kept to his character and succeeded. Off topic, he is also someone who could read a phone book and make it interesting.

The only reason why this movie seems intense is because we have not seen physical or facial deformities explored at this angle before in such a realistic way.  At times it was a little depressing and quite unwatchable, but why should it be happy?

Directed by David Lynch.