Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Elephant Man - Review

Fig One - Poster

Fig Two - John Merrick

The elephant man film (1980) was directed by David Lynch and is very much a sad and wonderful film to watch.

John Merrick life since birth was always hard for him as his body is servilely disfigured from and attack on his mum by an elephant while is was in her womb.  The way he looked clearly wasn’t accepted in that time which is shown in the film by the reaction to him from the public which Is sad to thing how humans can treat other human badly because they look different. 

The film is based on a true story of a man called Joseph Merrick, a Englishman who was born with disfiguring congenital disease in the 19th centenary. A doctor called Fredrick Treves who is fascinated with Joseph’s disease and takes him away from the circus freak show helps Joseph out.

“His motives in introducing the Elephant Man to society are no better than those of the brutish carny.” (VARIETY STAFF. Dec. 31, 1979)

Before Dr. Fredrick  Treves meets John Merrick, John life was being a circus freak and Bytes the guy who was the man what kept john captured for many years for his own profits of showing the world of John’s hideous disfigurement disease. Once Dr.Treves takes John Merrick to his hospital to be looked after but Dr. Treves starts to become like Bytes and starts to show John off to medical experts to gain praise from them, he soon realize what he’s becoming and stops it and asks his wife weather he’s a good man or a bad man.

“It's an amazing story about the human spirit that's told with great sensitivity, as Merrick's humanity clearly comes through despite his hideous deformity.” (DENNIS SCHWARTZ. April 23rd 2007)

The amount of courage John Merricks shows through out the film is truly inspiring to any human being. His courage is shown early on in the film where Dr. Treves asks him to speak and after a few minutes John starts speaking even though he has great trouble speaking he continues to get better at it which also shows he is an intelligent person.  Also when John Is heading back to London by going through the train station even though he has a mask covering his face for a man who looks and walks the way he does to go through such a public place is a very brave move. 

Even though John isn’t easy on the eyes, as he spends more and more time with Dr. Treves he meets more elegant people and starts to build confidents and this shown by the way he dresses and speaks.

“In such a setting it's no surprise that a kind of sad, desperate genteelness was once equated with human dignity.” (Vincent Canby. October 3RD, 1980)

the sadness parts what stood out the most were where he started to speak for the first time, when he lived with Bytes at the circus being abused and called horrible names and at the end where he lays down the way he’s not meant to because it will kill him due to his disease, when he does that its like he’s had what he wanted from life after going through all the abuse and misery to enjoying his final weeks and being happy enough to end his life on a high note.

Illustration - 

Bibliography –

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