Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Elephant Man (1980)

Based of the true story of John Merrick, The Elephant Man is amazing, yet disturbing look into the treatment of people with physical disorders. John Merrick is introduced as a circus freak, treated like an animal by society and his "owner" because of the physical disfigurements all over his body. He is saved from this life by Dr. Frederick Treves, played by Anthony Hopkins. He is then taken to a hospital where Treves introduces him to society, and slowly makes him less uncomfortable when dealing with other people. It becomes apparent that John is a very intelligent and kind man, and all of the judments being made upon him really had no base in reality. He even builds an an amazing model of a church outside his window, showing how naturally talented he is. John slowly becomes comfortable with his new lifestyle, only to be taken back to the circus life against his will. He makes it back to the hospital eventually, and after a night of going to the opera, he feels that he had the best day in his life. He decides to sleep lying down, which kills him because of his physical disfigurements.
Its hard to understand the emotional aspects of the movie without actually watching it, but the film brings to light how easy it is to judge someone based on looks alone. The story of John Merrick makes one think of the way society treats others in similar situations, and the film does an amazing job of telling the story.

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