This was a truly brilliant film!
The Elephant Man follows the life of John Merrick, a man who developed a most horrendous disfigurement which forced him to sleep upright and caused him no end of pain and grief both directly and indirectly from the people who would force themselves to look upon him.
It’s hard to imagine that John Merrick was a real man subject to such horrible circumstances as are depicted in the film, Film4’s review further highlights the questions the film asks David Lynch's The Elephant Man raises myriad questions about medicine, the notion of vainglory and society's prejudices and asks us to wonder whether, over a century later, matters have improved. and I think, although its sad to say that although we’ve moved on a great distance scientifically and socially we would still probably treat such a poor soul the same still. Perhaps even worse, now there’s TV and the internet to help us torment anyone who is that far out of the ordinary
Almar Haflidason’s review at BBC Films notes John Hurt’s acting through layers of prosthetics “Buried under an incredible mass of make-up, John Hurt still manages to invest his portrayal of Merrick with dignity and courage.” I agree with this statement, John Hurt portrays John Merrick as an upstanding gentleman despite the horrific disfiguration, in fact the makeup probably served to strengthen the acting so as give a truly astonishing performance
“His moving performance contrasts with the Victorian world of industrial horror that director David Lynch tries to crush him with. The result is a glimpse into a nightmare from which a beacon of humanity clearly shines out, despite his hideous disfigurement. again quoted from Almar Haflidason’s review clearly worded closing paragraph captures the essence of the film. In spite of everything else, one thing that The Elephant Man shows is that humanity is not worn on the outside but is a bright burning light inside and no other character burns as bright as John Merrick does in this film.