“I am not an animal! I am a human being! I… am… a man!”Review by Lewis Goodall
Half animal, half human, that’s the way to be. Not furries but an actual mix, that would be great! Let’s be real, humans are boring, the best thing about us is the opposable thumb. Then you have animals out there that can glide, change colour and look like a leaf. We don’t looks like leaves, or at least I don’t, i’m far too big to be a leaf, I might as well be the elephant man :,(
The Elephant Man, directed by David Lynch, is the true story of the unfortunate John Merrick. Fredrick Treves (Antony Hopkins), is a physician working out of London hospital. While wondering around a freak show, he discovers an act that is so foul it can’t be shown. That act is… The Elephant Man. This terrifying beast is John Merrick (John Hurt), a horrifically deformed human. Fredrick saves John from a life of being abused in the freak show and allows him to come out of his Elephant shell in a story of humanity and friendship.
Its amazing to me that David Lynch, within the space of three years, went from making one of my most hated films, to making one of my most beloved. (If you’ve seen my review for Eraserhead then you have an idea as to how I felt about that). Eraserhead was the equivalent to John Merrick’s looks whereas The Elephant Man is his charm and kindness. This film is an amazing lesson about looking beyond the cover of someone’s book and discovering their beauty, even if that book cover is horrifically mangled and making weird slurping noises.
I usually praise acting first, acting and then story and blah blah blah but this time I’m am going to praise you, Christopher Tucker. This man created the look of John Merrick and it is the spitting image. To create the look of John Merrick, it took seven to eight hours to apply the makeup, so huge kudos to both him and John Hurt for the dedication, a round of applause please and thank you’s. They so accurately depicted John Merrick and it really sucked you in to this character, which is my segway to acting, lets gooooooo.
Acting, John Hurt played John Merrick beautifully, of course the make up helped but accurately depicting this broken man, slowly becoming open to society was wonderful. Anthony Hopkins is just perfect as always, that goes without saying. The bond between these two felt very very real and made this emotional movie that more impactful.
The story itself is a real eye opener. Its a very important story which I think a lot of people nowadays would benefit from. It boils down to the book saying, don’t judge a book by its cover, looking at people who aren’t normal by societies terms and not immediately judging them or throwing banana skins at them, that sort of thing. John Merricks story is a tragic one, but seeing the power of one persons kindness bring a bit of happiness into their life, nothing beats that. A lot of people have the power and the choice, to be kind or to be hurtful to others, its an easy choice and a choice that a lot of people online get wrong, but this film really shows the effect of people, not only the hundreds being mean, but the effect of one being nice. Fart fart piss poo wee wee fart fart. There we go, had to bring it down a notch, that was getting far too preachy.
Overall this is going to sound cliche but it truly is, its one of the most moving and touching films I’ve ever seen. Knowing that its true makes it pile drive your heart just that bit more. Plus this is a David lynch film, I didn’t like Eraserhead but it had gorgeous visuals which he also incorporated here too, big yes from me. Don’t be a mouse, be an Elephant.