The Elephant Man Reviews

  • Mar 18, 2019

    Clearly one of David Lynch's weakest moments in his legendary directorial career. 'The Elephant Man' is only moderately superior to other acclaimed movies that rely on the 'phenomenon/outsider' sort of trope.

    Clearly one of David Lynch's weakest moments in his legendary directorial career. 'The Elephant Man' is only moderately superior to other acclaimed movies that rely on the 'phenomenon/outsider' sort of trope.

  • Feb 10, 2019

    A touchstone for empathy. David Lynch's biopic The Elephant Man (1980) chronicles the lifelong suffering, cruelty, and eventual kindness felt by Joseph Merrick also known as The Elephant Man. This film is a beautiful capturing the deep emotions of a poor man that faced unimaginable cruelty, abuse, enslavement, starvation, ridicule, embarrassment, frustration, isolation, and severe deformity. The Elephant Man was indeed a man who had to cope with his deformed and afflicted condition with no chance for a cure. All he was given was a friend. The Elephant Man is David Lynch's most humanistic film. Lynch's direction leaves the camera to focus and zoom in on the reactions of people's shocked, horrified, jeering, and sympathetic faces alike to seeing Merrick. Lynch's direction is impressive because he forces viewer to imagine how Merrick feels about being gawked at and leered at for all hours of every day. Lynch forces his perspective in order to convey a touching empathy for Merrick. We must confront his appearance and feel his emotions. Lynch's direction is astonishing in relating Merrick's emotions with a simple frame. The Elephant Man's black and white aesthetic is a brilliant choice for it harks back to an older era, while allowing for total immersion into the time period. Lynch's noir direction uses long panning shots down dark street and isolating rooms with smoky fog and dim lighting to create a haunting atmosphere throughout The Elephant Man. The stunning photography leaves the audience with unforgettable images. For example, the first time we see Merrick at the freak show or every time the camera zooms in on Merrick's mother in the picture. Lynch's stark visuals give way to endearing performances of resplendent leading performances from Sir John Hurt and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Hurt delivers his greatest role as "John Merrick" the Elephant Man. Hurt depicts a man stricken by illness and limited in his movements, voice, and stature by these maladies. Hurt is genius at remaining expressive whether he is under heavy makeup, a bag mask, or just close up to his eyes. Hurt elevates The Elephant Man to untold heights of sympathy. I cry every time I watch Hurt drink tea at Treves home with his wife. Likewise, Hurt uses a masterful nuance in portraying Merrick in The Elephant Man. His use of forlorn eyes and agonizing yells is as convincing in character as his pained growls and tear rending cries of suffering as he is beaten, mocked, and hurt. Hurt's acting is unparalleled in The Elephant Man. Similarly, Sir Anthony Hopkins is outstanding in The Elephant Man. He endears the audience with an emotional honest rare to film. His character is complex as he originally feels he can reach medical fame for discovering Merrick's unthinkable condition, but experiences a profound change of heart as he gets to know Merrick. Hopkins is so nuanced like Hurt as he starts out stunned by Merrick's appearance, then sheds a single tear in sympathy for the man. His confession to his wife at night is acting at its most revealing. Hopkins plays Dr. Frederick Treves with subtle skill and effortless empathy. Furthermore, The Elephant Man features several wonderful supporting performances. Anne Bancroft is lovely and kindly as the sympathetic actress Madge Kendall and friend to Merrick. John Gielgud is striking as the hospital's governor with his strict composure that softens into an understanding empathy for the misshapen Merrick as he imagines what Merrick must have endured. Wendy Hiller is steadfast as the head nurse Mrs. Mothershead, who cares for Merrick the only way she knows. Freddie Jones is monstrous as the raggedy abuser and Merrick's captor Mr. Bytes. Michael Elphick is likewise cruel as Merrick's next exploiter and abuser. Hannah Gordon is remarkably memorable and sympathetic as Dr. Treves' kind wife Ann Treves. Even Kenny Baker makes a brief cameo as Merrick's savior, who delivers stunning knowing parting words with Merrick. Lastly, the score to The Elephant Man is a hybrid of eerie classical and contemporary compositions from composer John Morris. He complements the scary unspeakable abuse that Merrick endures, while capturing an enchanting sweetness during the few kind moments Merrick gets to experience. In all The Elephant Man is a classic film noir, an informative historical biopic, and an empathetic journey into the painful life of Joseph Merrick with endearing excellent performances. Lynch has directed an enduring and fine film.

    A touchstone for empathy. David Lynch's biopic The Elephant Man (1980) chronicles the lifelong suffering, cruelty, and eventual kindness felt by Joseph Merrick also known as The Elephant Man. This film is a beautiful capturing the deep emotions of a poor man that faced unimaginable cruelty, abuse, enslavement, starvation, ridicule, embarrassment, frustration, isolation, and severe deformity. The Elephant Man was indeed a man who had to cope with his deformed and afflicted condition with no chance for a cure. All he was given was a friend. The Elephant Man is David Lynch's most humanistic film. Lynch's direction leaves the camera to focus and zoom in on the reactions of people's shocked, horrified, jeering, and sympathetic faces alike to seeing Merrick. Lynch's direction is impressive because he forces viewer to imagine how Merrick feels about being gawked at and leered at for all hours of every day. Lynch forces his perspective in order to convey a touching empathy for Merrick. We must confront his appearance and feel his emotions. Lynch's direction is astonishing in relating Merrick's emotions with a simple frame. The Elephant Man's black and white aesthetic is a brilliant choice for it harks back to an older era, while allowing for total immersion into the time period. Lynch's noir direction uses long panning shots down dark street and isolating rooms with smoky fog and dim lighting to create a haunting atmosphere throughout The Elephant Man. The stunning photography leaves the audience with unforgettable images. For example, the first time we see Merrick at the freak show or every time the camera zooms in on Merrick's mother in the picture. Lynch's stark visuals give way to endearing performances of resplendent leading performances from Sir John Hurt and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Hurt delivers his greatest role as "John Merrick" the Elephant Man. Hurt depicts a man stricken by illness and limited in his movements, voice, and stature by these maladies. Hurt is genius at remaining expressive whether he is under heavy makeup, a bag mask, or just close up to his eyes. Hurt elevates The Elephant Man to untold heights of sympathy. I cry every time I watch Hurt drink tea at Treves home with his wife. Likewise, Hurt uses a masterful nuance in portraying Merrick in The Elephant Man. His use of forlorn eyes and agonizing yells is as convincing in character as his pained growls and tear rending cries of suffering as he is beaten, mocked, and hurt. Hurt's acting is unparalleled in The Elephant Man. Similarly, Sir Anthony Hopkins is outstanding in The Elephant Man. He endears the audience with an emotional honest rare to film. His character is complex as he originally feels he can reach medical fame for discovering Merrick's unthinkable condition, but experiences a profound change of heart as he gets to know Merrick. Hopkins is so nuanced like Hurt as he starts out stunned by Merrick's appearance, then sheds a single tear in sympathy for the man. His confession to his wife at night is acting at its most revealing. Hopkins plays Dr. Frederick Treves with subtle skill and effortless empathy. Furthermore, The Elephant Man features several wonderful supporting performances. Anne Bancroft is lovely and kindly as the sympathetic actress Madge Kendall and friend to Merrick. John Gielgud is striking as the hospital's governor with his strict composure that softens into an understanding empathy for the misshapen Merrick as he imagines what Merrick must have endured. Wendy Hiller is steadfast as the head nurse Mrs. Mothershead, who cares for Merrick the only way she knows. Freddie Jones is monstrous as the raggedy abuser and Merrick's captor Mr. Bytes. Michael Elphick is likewise cruel as Merrick's next exploiter and abuser. Hannah Gordon is remarkably memorable and sympathetic as Dr. Treves' kind wife Ann Treves. Even Kenny Baker makes a brief cameo as Merrick's savior, who delivers stunning knowing parting words with Merrick. Lastly, the score to The Elephant Man is a hybrid of eerie classical and contemporary compositions from composer John Morris. He complements the scary unspeakable abuse that Merrick endures, while capturing an enchanting sweetness during the few kind moments Merrick gets to experience. In all The Elephant Man is a classic film noir, an informative historical biopic, and an empathetic journey into the painful life of Joseph Merrick with endearing excellent performances. Lynch has directed an enduring and fine film.

  • Nov 03, 2018

    ELEPHANT MAN I just finished watching the most beautiful, happiest, yet saddest and most ugly movie. It is probably a classic I'm not sure. However I know it certainly should be. The action of each person was splendid. There were times that I laughed, times I wanted to scream. Additionally there were even times I found the people's disregard for the decency of human life by a number of the characters. As in life the crowd being lead by one or two ; this Chaplain could have found himself ready to act similarly to Cain more than once due to many people's disregard for humanity, civility or ever the smallest shred of decency and empathy for John Merreck's conditions.

    ELEPHANT MAN I just finished watching the most beautiful, happiest, yet saddest and most ugly movie. It is probably a classic I'm not sure. However I know it certainly should be. The action of each person was splendid. There were times that I laughed, times I wanted to scream. Additionally there were even times I found the people's disregard for the decency of human life by a number of the characters. As in life the crowd being lead by one or two ; this Chaplain could have found himself ready to act similarly to Cain more than once due to many people's disregard for humanity, civility or ever the smallest shred of decency and empathy for John Merreck's conditions.

  • Oct 22, 2018

    Definitely Best Picture worthy with the great cast and engaging plot.

    Definitely Best Picture worthy with the great cast and engaging plot.

  • Oct 10, 2018

    The films of David Lynch are abstract and off beat. One needs the correct frame of mind to enjoy them. The Elephant Man is one of the more mainstream, straightforward narrative films by the auteur but even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good it is a shame that he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well-acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed.

    The films of David Lynch are abstract and off beat. One needs the correct frame of mind to enjoy them. The Elephant Man is one of the more mainstream, straightforward narrative films by the auteur but even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good it is a shame that he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well-acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed.

  • Sep 19, 2018

    The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed. (Like any other Lynch film it depends on your taste).

    The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed. (Like any other Lynch film it depends on your taste).

  • Aug 29, 2018

    David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed.

    David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed.

  • Aug 01, 2018

    David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed. (A tough film to sit through).

    David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed. (A tough film to sit through).

  • Jul 20, 2018

    David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed.

    David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed.

  • Jun 15, 2018

    Cinema at its finest

    Cinema at its finest