Thursday, January 21, 2016

664. The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man
Directed by David Lynch

I recently saw the hospital the real Joseph Merrick stayed in London, although I was too freaked out that I was on my own in Whitechapel to properly appreciate the historical significance.  That was a fun fact before a very unfun movie.

This is the story of John Merrick, a severely deformed man who is being exploited at a freak show.  Frederick Treves, a surgeon, tracks him down with the intent to study his condition.  Obviously, they form a deeper connection.

I might be accused of being heartless, but honestly, I felt that this movie was a bit heavy handed with its moralism.  The movie just kept going more and more over the top.  I didn't think the director could outdo the famous "I am not an animal!" scene, but the ending was possibly even more sentimental. It's one of those films where everyone believes they are giving career defining performances that I find exhausting to watch.

Call me a cold bitch, but this is a two star movie.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Joseph Merrick's exact condition is still not known.

Mel Brooks was the producer of this film but left his name out of the credits so the audience wouldn't get the wrong idea.


  1. I needed a bit of a pause to think about what you said, and conclude I agreed with you more than I first thought I did. It's one of those films that, when they came out created quite a lot of attention and we all saw it for it's humanitarian caring treatment / representation of the lead character. "Ohh, how horrible those people are, treating that poor man like that". Quite right too, but .. several (I first put 'years', then realised 'decades' would be more accurate) but many, many years later, you realise it IS very heavy handed and excesivly, moralistic bordering on the simplistic. One suspects films like this made it into the book because the compilers saw it at time of release, found it moving, and felt it had to be in the list, but hadn't watched it since.

    1. Thanks Ray! I felt rather heartless writing this but the lack of subtlety in this film was overwhelming. Although I suppose cruelty often lacks subtlety...