Understated and masterful in its use of costumes, makeup, and low-budget camerawork, David Lynch's portrait of John "The Elephant Man" Merrick stands as one of the best biographies on film. From his discovery by Dr. Frederick Treves (Hopkins) in a carnival freakshow, to his rehabilitation in the hospital and acceptance into London society, to his ultimate demise by suffocating, John Hurt's vibrant portrayal of Merrick is an emotional tour de force that sheds much light on the man now best known for occupying Michael Jackson's mantel. Lynch may very well be the only director who could have done the subject justice, and despite a few forced scenes with Merrick meet-n-greeting various English socialites, the film stands as one of the highlights of his career.
This fairly engaging (if over-long) biopic of infamous 1930s actress Frances Farmer is a showpiece for Jessica Lange, who I normally am not a big fan of. Unfortunately though the story glosses over some of the big details in Farmer's life. While we get her incarceration in a mental asylum and lobotomization, her various celebrity weddings barely get a mention. Similarly, her life after release from the loony bin gets covered only in a title card before the credits.