49. The Elephant Man (1980)




Roger's Rating :


Should be :


Roger was not really fond of this great movie. He says in his two star review "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. The film's philosophy is this shallow: (1)Wow, the Elephant Man sure looked hideous, and (2) gosh, isn't it wonderful how he kept on in spite of everything?"
I think Roger missed the point of the movie. The movie explores what it means to be human. At first even Dr. Treves thought John Merrick was probably an idiot. He is stunned when he finds out he had judged the book by its cover.
I think the movie strongly makes the point that people shouldn't be treated differently just because they look or sound different. Is this really a shallow point? Maybe it is simplistic and obvious, but it must be remembered that we have a history of judging people by how they looked and it lasted for over two hundred years in this country.
John Hurt's makeup was made from casts of Merrick's body, which had been preserved in the private museum of the Royal London Hospital. It was so convincing that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was prompted to create a new category for Best Make-up for the Oscars because of this movie.
This very moving movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. It has an 8.4 rating on IMDB and a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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