There is a reason that this movie recieved so many Oscar nominations; it's a movie meant for the occasion. The Elephant Man is better shot, better acted and all round better made then the majority of Oscar nominated movies but ultimately it's sentimental and doesn't meet out its own potential. I was very excited to rent this movie because the more and more I see by David Lynch the more impressed I am. Both Blue Velvet and the Straight Story (just to name two) absolutely wowed me with their vision and totally original feel. I'm convinced that Lynch is one of the most notable and important living American directors. The Elephant Man looks and sounds great, but the handling of the material is just average. In a lesser movie, this wouldn't be as infuriating but in a movie with such amazing visual atmosphere you kind of expect a depth of emotion. I thought that this movie wore its morals as a cub scout badge. There was so much more potential in the material. I wanted murkiness and ambivalence. Why do we react so violently and hatefully to ugliness? Did the doctor really care about his patient or was he just another ringmaster? And most importantly, what of class? The Elephant Man's happiness seems to be entirely dependent on his acceptance into high society. The people shown reacting ignorantly to the Elephant Man are all poor and dirty. Quite a simplistic attitude if you ask me. If you are looking for a tear jerker, rent this movie, you could do worse. If you are looking for Lynch with balls, Blue Velvet is your best decision.