So I have recently begun a swap deal with a movie fanatic at work. She and I are kindreds that are only 25 years apart. On a weekly basis we will loan each other at least one movie a week and come back and share our interpretation/thoughts on the movie. Basically a mini book club of two (but replace reading with watching)
She loaned me “The Elephant Man” which, to my chagrin, I had never really heard of (and I call myself a cinema aficionado-FOR SHAME!) I watched it last night, having very little idea of what it was about.
Let me break it down:
An up-and-coming English doctor hears of an ‘Elephant Man’ in a traveling freak show. He pays the sleazy owner to see the deformed human when the show is shut down-due to complaints and a poor health code. The doctor is appalled and intrigued by the man. He shows him to the medical community and then decides to keep him in the hospital. Word spreads and the high-class folk want to go spend time with the Elephant Man-AKA John Merrick at the hospital. They soon discover that he is sweet, intelligent, and a learned man, despite the fact that his previous situation of poverty and mistreatment.
There are some random spurts of antagonists throughout the movie (guys who want to profit off John’s physical misfortune, and beat him because they are super-a-hole douche bags who CLEARLY have no soul)
The ending kills me. John Merrick yearns to be like everybody else. He can’t even do the simple things. He can’t even lie down to go to sleep because of the massiveness/weight of his head could impair his breathing issues and impede his already dwindling health. And while those closest to him know that he is dying treat him with such care, and he more than verbalizes his appreciation and love for his new blossoming life, decides to do what is so common to all others---ATTEMPTS TO LAY DOWN AND SLEEP, TO NEVER WAKE UP.
It was really quite an excellent show. I was completely fascinated by it, so I look it up on Wikipedia this morning—the movie did a very good job to try to stick to his actual story…the makeup for 1980 was fantastic and did a bomb depiction of John Merrick. But snap, a lot of the trouble he went through was brutal, and the way they captured this poor man’s attitude was wonderful. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE-it very deservedly was nominated for Best Picture. Sigh, go rent it. Real good.