A heart wrencing story of the life of Joseph Merrick which has to a certain decree been bastardised by hollywood. Joseph Merrick (called John in the Film) is a man who is suffering from a deformity that at that time had never been seen. Possible now thought to have been Proteus syndrome but no test now can be conclusive. In the film you find that John Merrick was being mistreated in a circus freak show. In reality this wasn't the case Merrick was in a freak show but he made good money and was treated well. There are a few untruths in the film but mostly they can be forgiven as the film is so well executed by David Lynch (best known for Eraserhead and Twin Peaks) who you couldn't imagine making a drama so serious. But this is by far the best and most serious of his films film 4 describe his work as "Up there with both the best of David Lynch and the best of British cinema" and that's not far wrong.
During Merrick's life he is taken into care by Frederick Treves a surgeon at the London Hospital as played by Anthony Hopkins, there he is cared for and put on display for other doctors and surgeons to see. Mr Merrick slowly becomes a celebrity of his time as he gets taked about in the papers and is visited by notable people in high society. This give a lovely parrallel as Frederick Treves starts to wonder if he is doing the right thing as Merrick is still essentually beingh put on diplay and looked at.
There are many moments in the film where you feel so much compassion for Merrick and it becomes hard to keep the emotion in. This is many due to John Hurts performance as Merrick which is so believable and "truly remarkable" to quote the New York Times.