Eraserhead (1977): Man’s Lonely Disconnected Life


“In Heaven, everything is fine…in heaven…”

-The Pixies

What is life? It is hope, despair, loss, something else or something more? In David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” the answer is despair. I’m going to give a spoiler warning here since it impossible to give a good review and assesment of this movie without giving away the plot. The story is about a man named Henry who is disconnected from all those around him, he learns that he had a child with his girlfriend…this child is Eraserhead…a misshaped creature that represents him and his world. It ends with him killing the child and the implication of himself later as the final scene is him with the mysterious woman who sings at one point in the movie that in heaven everything is fine with them hugging behind a white screen (that may be heaven).

I am a fan of David Lynch. One of my favorite shows is “Twin Peaks,” but where “Twin Peaks” kind of lost focus second season this movie is focused and true to it’s theme the entire way through even as it is extremely surreal and mixes dreams and reality at multiple points…which is very Lynchian.

The film was written, directed and produced by David Lynch.

The story is about Spencer who is isolated from his wife and her family and becomes moreso after his wife gives birth to the mutant Eraserhead. From here he must care for his baby as he finds himself more isolated from everyone around him as the line between dream and reality blurs.

The Pros: The cinematography – “Eraserhead” is beautifully filmed. It is in black and white and uses the shadows to it’s advantage so that the dream world overlaps with the nightmarish dreamworld since both are dark and twisted. It can’t help but draw you in.

The music – The creepy soundtrack adds to theme of disconnect and separation that pervades the film. What songs there are, The Pixies “In Heaven” as an example is presented in an ironic way and makes you question whether there is even a heaven in the universe in the film.

The Story – Is succinct and is good at getting it’s message across. The themes are layered in regards to the disconnect and despair and when something major happens, it just goes deeper into the mind of Henry.

The Theme – The theme of disconnect and loneliness was great as we see Eraserhead and his Father being cut off from everyone and only having one another. It’s powerful as we see what loneliness does to the mind as Eraserhead and his father continue to break down more and more in their isolation.

Okay: The actors – They weren’t really memorable. They did their parts well, but I have no desire to see them in anything else. They didn’t make the source material deeper besides the main lead. The rest were simply additions of his mind almost, which was most likely purposeful.

Cons: The theme – Not in regards to myself. I actually really enjoyed it, but a fair warning to anyone else. Lynch is not for everyone. So the dark and despair may not be your thing for an outing into the mind of a fascinating and talented director.

I would highly recommend this film. It is good at making it’s point and is a powerful exploration of a poor, lonely, disconnected man and the child he helps bring into the world. It can be seen in relation to us to a degree, though I for one tend to see that the human relationships that do exist counteract the disconnect that so often crops up in all of our lives. I would recommend this movie in the exploration of the disconnect and the strange and would this movie is a great introduction to the works of David Lynch.

I would rate this movie 8.75 / 10. Definitely a recommend.

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