“I am not an animal! I am a human being!” So says John Merrick, the tragically deformed subject of David Lynch’s restrained follow-up to Eraserhead. Cursed with a dangerously large head and a painfully gnarled body, Merrick (John Hurt) is paraded around for years as a sideshow freak before encountering the kind Dr. Treves (Anthony Hopkins). Based partly on the true story of a 19th century British unfortunate, Elephant Man unveils for audiences the entire range of human capabilities. We can be cruel and kind, ugly and beautiful—often times we’re all of those at once.
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