Response to “The Man Without a Face” Movie

How does Norstadt arrive at the moral certainty that he can trust McLeod despite the fear and doubt that is raised in him by the rumors? Why is it so important for McLeod that Norstadt not “cheat” on the problem of using his freedom to decide on his own whether the rumors are true?

Many rumors surround McCloud about his background simply due to his grotesque appearance. This movie truly displays how people relate being ugly to negative qualities and being beautiful to positive qualities. Throughout the movie the town labels him as a monster without even having a conversation with McCloud. However, in need of tutoring Nordstat ventures into his house and as they tear down walls and boundaries the two eventually become friends.

This movie ultimately reminds me of beauty and the beast. McCloud being the Beast isolates himself from the world. At the beginning of the movie he refuses to help Nordstat because he is afraid to love people and is conditioned to let those fear him. He hides away from the world in a house where no one can judge him to his face. Nordstat being the Belle reluctantly meets McCloud and uncovers something beautiful that the world can’t see. He uncovers a friendship. The two form a symbiotic relationship in which they both gain something from each other. It’s almost as if they both need each other.
However that relationship is quickly torn apart when Nordstat is found at McCloud’s house over night. The police viewed this as grounds for child molestation. This is due to past rumors of McCloud and a previous student which was ultimately untrue. However, the world is quick to judge those who are disliked. A great quote in the movie is when McCloud says “is this (his face) all you see? Because if this is all you can see than you can’t possibly see all of me.”
Society often puts people in a box. They label people as good or bad, pretty or ugly, cool or weird, etc. However the public often forgets the grey area in between. No person is merely one-dimensional. Also the criteria we use to judge these characteristics are arbitrary definitions that are meaningless. What good is it to be physically beautifully if mentally and spiritual you are an ugly person? The town seemed to accept Nordstat’s shallow, ditzy mother over the sweet caring McCloud due to the fact that she was gorgeous.

Nordstat even jumps to a similar conclusion. When rumors of molestation come into play he doubts his newfound love for his friend. Norstadt arrives at the moral certainty that he can trust McLeod despite the fear and doubt that is raised in him by the rumors on his own. Rather than listening to what everyone else thinks, he grows to have enough maturity to think for himself. He can trust that the rumors are untrue based on the his strong almost paternal relationship with McCloud. McCloud has shown through his actions that he is a caring, intelligent, sweet indivdual and by no means a child molester.

McCloud deals with a lot of criticism from the outside world. However he can often ignore them by separating himself from those around him. Thus he is extremely hurt by Nordstat’s accusal of molestation. One can see the strong emotional reaction that McCloud has. This is because he trusts Nordstat and feels as if there bond can surpass his appearance, and then it doesn’t it just reminds him of his face. This emotional response depicts his character development as  we see him as a more three-dimensional figure. We see him through the eyes of Nordstat evolving from a monster into someone we can connect with and love.

When Nordstat decides for himself what he believes rather than listen to what is fed to him, he becomes and individual. This is similar to what we are learning in class because we are discussing the evils of power and what it means to know something. The power of society wanted him to believe that McCloud was a bad person. This information was fed to him and was what he thought he knew. He believed their information at first just accepting what others say as fact. However, once he took control of his own thoughts and ideals he found that to be untrue. Rather than the words of others Nordstat used his judgement to determine McCloud’s character. Thus he beat power by neither conforming to it nor believing the antithesis. He discovered this by learning to think for himself and through his heart he discovered the truth.


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