August 3, 2013

The Truman Show

Peter Weir, 1998


Truman (Jim Carrey) is the star of a popular reality television show where everything in his life has been filmed. His birth, his schooling, first kiss, his marriage - is all part of the show. He is unaware he is the star of The Truman Show, for now, but his suspicions grow as unusual occurrences seem to be happening around him.

Carrey steps into one of the better dramatic roles of his career as Truman. The film really makes an immediate jump into the story, and never really loses its momentum. The attention to detail in crafting the artificial world that Truman lives in is both imaginative and impressive. Carrey quickly solicits sympathy as the vanilla insurance salesman protagonist who works the daily grind, picks up the daily newspaper, and goes home to eat dinner with the wife and watch I Love Lucy episodes. The limited selection in television shows could be compared to the gray-scale landscape of Pleasantville in it's very overt oppression of art. Christof (Ed Harris) created the show and has been directing it for the entire duration of Truman's life. His imagination is evident, but so is his inflated ego. His artificial town of Sea Haven that he has created is like a 1950's Utopian Suburbia concept. His desire to be a god-like figure sitting high inside the artificial moon must be intoxicating to him. He may be able to spend millions of dollars on his creating his fictional Sea Haven, but he doesn't realize that you can't inhibit the human desire to branch out and see what's out there. True reality is absolutely priceless and impossible to completely emulate. Truman naturally has curious instincts, and as soon as he starts to test his native boundaries, he begins to notice some flaws in the Truman Show world. It's certainly a brilliant social experiment, played out beautifully. Laura Linney is brilliant as Meryl, Truman's wife, as she plays a Stepford Wife-like figure who tries to keep Truman domesticated and unadventurous. The film is also an obvious satirical piece, examining Americas obsession with the modern reality television show. The film really stands out on its own, more than similarly themed EdTV (1999) because it really pulls you in and turns you into one of the many people watching and rooting for Truman. The film's impact on American culture is quite long ranged. A Bellevue psychiatrist named Joel Gold said that he had several schizophrenic patients who claimed that they were being filmed for a reality show similar to that in the film.

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