• PG, 2 hr. 3 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    David Lynch
    In Theaters:
    Oct 3, 1980 Wide
    On DVD:
    Dec 11, 2001
  • Paramount

Critic Review - Chicago Sun-Times

I kept asking myself what the film was really trying to say about the human condition as reflected by John Merrick, and I kept drawing blanks.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (41)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic



Brandon Beckelheimer

No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO! NO! NO! NO!

Jul 30 - 03:35 PM


alex broadwell

I LIKE YOU but get over your beef with lynch plz

Jul 30 - 04:12 PM


Patrick Dunne

@Bwell: Beef with Lynch?

*looks up Blue Velvet*

One star? I dont really mind him not liking this film, but I never expected Blue Velvet to get that low. :o
*is shocked*

Sep 1 - 06:53 PM


Aaron Yovanovits

He's given rave reviews to several Lynch films.

Lol all butthurt because one critic doesn't like some movie you like.

Jan 5 - 07:07 AM


Andrew Cook

If by "several" you mean two, wherein one he gives more credit to the writers and only seems to mention Lynch in the context of "well at least he didn't mess this one up."

Sep 2 - 02:53 AM


Christian Clark


Aug 6 - 01:53 PM


Kyle Cook

Aug 11 - 11:47 PM


nonofyourbbus nonofyourbbus

Your a ****ing idiot ebert

Dec 18 - 11:46 AM

Orhan S.

Orhan Sulejmani

why, because he didn't like a film you liked? so mature

Mar 19 - 06:01 PM

Zach Wisz

Zach Wisz

No, he's an idiot because the message was simple -- and this pig didn't even get it.

Oct 2 - 02:28 PM


Trevor Cameron


Jan 6 - 02:31 AM


Micah Losh

Perhaps that's because you're a moron. Hmmm?

Jun 22 - 02:00 PM

Jimi G.

James Gingerich

No, actually Mr.Ebert is a genius and one of the greatest artistic critics of our era, and you insulting him says nothing bad about him and everything wrong with you. However, I definetly disagree with Mr.Ebert on this one, and yes, I am a little baffled both at the 1 star rating and at his lapse in judgement of a film's artistic moral goals. This movie might be Lynch's best.

Sep 19 - 08:52 AM

Tall Cool One

Tall Cool One !

Jimi G. is correct. Ebert is my favorite critic not because always I agree with him, but because he's very detailed in his reviews. He tells you his opinion and then tells you how he reached that opinion. I don't agree with him here but I can live with that. And even if I couldn't, I doubt that complaining like some whiny fanboy because he doesn't agree with me in a 30 year old review is going to matter to him.

Dec 23 - 07:47 AM


Nicholas Erwin

ummm....what? anybody understand what ebert is sayin? i never could read his ramblings.

Jul 30 - 12:09 AM


Aaron Yovanovits

The fact that you would call Ebert's pulitzer prize-winning critical writings unreadable ramblings says a lot about you.

May 19 - 08:46 AM


Sean Pak

I'm asking myself what Ebert was really trying to say about it being so hard to figure out what the film was really trying to say about the human condition. And now I'm drawing blanks. Because the themes of the movie were very, very clear to me by the end. How did he miss them?

Sep 10 - 09:44 PM


Aaron Yovanovits

Oh, I see what you did there.

Jan 5 - 07:08 AM


Myron Kinsey

I don't get it what did he do was it suppose to be sarcasm or something?

Mar 22 - 05:13 PM


Myron Kinsey

Oh wait now i get it ha clever

Mar 22 - 05:28 PM

Nathan S.

Nathan Swissa

Than why dont u tell us what the movie is trying to say if it's so obvious. Wait, you dont know either. Now that I've called you out it's time for you to google search so you can pretend you know what you're talking about.

Apr 28 - 03:31 PM


Andrew Cook

It's about the innate strength of humanity to love and to persevere, and to do what makes you happy, told through the exquisite character of John Merrick and the effect he has on the people around him. Yes, its obvious. I don't know what Roger was thinking here, or with most of his other Lynch reviews.

Sep 2 - 02:58 AM

Nate Swissa

Nate Swissa

Thank you IrreducibleKoan you have proven to me that you are not pretentious and you definitely do know what you are talking about. Oh, wait...

Dec 10 - 12:33 PM

Katrina Herring

Katrina Herring

What??? That's what you got out of the film? Quite opposite. The film shows what awful exploiters humans are. John Merrick was put on display by the abusive carnival owner, to then be rescued by a doctor who puts him on display all over again...just to high society instead of carnival goers. Merrick is artistic and thoughtful unlike the others. It shows us that the "monster" is more "human" than the rest of us.

Dec 31 - 10:06 AM

Cristofo Romani

Cristofo Romani

Mr. Ebert. Your time has passed.

Aug 10 - 02:42 AM


Aaron Yovanovits

And yours will never come.

May 6 - 12:26 PM


Matheus Cassiano

Wow best response EVER

Jul 7 - 04:39 PM

Lorenzo R.

Lorenzo Rementerķa


Jul 9 - 07:16 PM


Joshua Dinsmore


Aug 13 - 11:43 PM

Leisure M.

Leisure Muffin

You probably draw blanks alot.

Aug 24 - 06:56 AM

Siege S.

Siege Sage

Roger never really liked any of Lynchs films except Mulholland Drive... but giving negative reviews to both Elephant Man and Blue Velvet.. i don't get it, both films are masterpieces by an extreme talent. Please Roger, come over to my house and we'll watch Elephant Man together and I'll walk you through the brilliance.

Jan 31 - 11:01 PM


Myron Kinsey

He also liked Inland Empire gave it four stars.

Mar 22 - 05:12 PM


Richard Crismore

I DON"T MEAN THIS TO BE INSULTING. But I wonder if his opinion of this movie would change knowing that his face is not what it used to be, and that he probably gets mean looks from people who may not recognize who he is at first. I wonder if that experience would give him a newer perception of this work of art.

Jan 12 - 09:27 AM

Sarfaraz Abbasi

Sarfaraz Abbasi

Sir, I respect you, but your negative reviews of David Lynch's most of films, are totally absurd, such Blue Velvet and The Elephant Man!

Apr 2 - 12:01 PM

William J.

William Johnsten

Never agreed with this guy. To Kill a Mockingbird bad? A Clockwork Orange bad? Blue Velvet bad? Deliverance bad? Star Trek bad? I can go on forever. I just plain don't like Roger.

Dec 22 - 01:48 PM

Hamilton Bradford

Hamilton Bradford

He later gave To Kill a Mockingbird and Clockwork Orange better reviews.

Feb 23 - 02:48 PM

Hamilton Bradford

Hamilton Bradford

Funny how one of the most highly acclaimed movie critic of all time writes a bad review on a movie, and everyone thinks he's a horrible critic. Is nobody entitled to their own opinion nowadays?

Feb 23 - 02:47 PM

Will Bigelow

Will Bigelow

If you seriously didn't get how John Merrick and his interactions with others reflected society then you should not be a critic.

May 26 - 05:24 AM

Jake Comeau

Jake Comeau

Why do you hate David Lynch

May 29 - 02:28 PM

William Sinclair

William Sinclair

I have never disagreed more Ebert, however I think we should note that Ebert tries very hard to have his own opinion, he wont give a movie a positive review just because it is generally accepted as being good, he'll give a movie a positive review if he enjoyed it, and evidently he didn't here, and there is nothing wrong with that, it is simply his opinion.

Jun 2 - 02:25 AM

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