Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Released: June 1998
Starring: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Ed Harris
I don’t know how I have gone this long without reviewing this remarkable movie.
The Truman Show is about Truman (Jim Carrey) who lives a humble life in a suburban town with a solid job and a perfect wife. But he can’t stop thinking about a woman he fell in love with at university. He soon begins to reflect on his life and missed opportunities, before expressing his desire to travel.
Truman: And all the way around here… Fiji. You can’t get any further away before you start coming back.
We soon release that his world is a lie. He is the main character in a reality television program that films him 24/7. His wife (Laura Linney), his best friend (Noah Emmerich) – everyone around him are all actors and the town is a massive stage, which appears inescapable.
I love the innocence of Truman – who knew that Jim Carrey could be such a perfect casting choice. Apparently Robin Williams was considered, but Jim Carrey was keen to show his dramatic side.
The story is brilliant and it was executed so well. The Truman Show puts you on edge, it makes you laugh, it makes you despair, and it sticks with you well after watching it. Similar to The Matrix, you begin to look around and reflect on the sincerity of your environment.
Mike Michaelson [presenter]: Christof, let me ask you, why do you think that Truman has never come close to discovering the true nature of his world until now?
Christof (Ed Harris) [producer]: We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented. It’s as simple as that.
The script is brilliant, and the details of the film are so well done that after the 10th watch, you will still see new things. Such as the people in the background wanting to get a good look at the ‘star’ of the show when they are supposed to be professional background artists. It’s funny when Truman unexpectedly interacts with them, because their improv skills are awful.
Bus Driver: [unable to get the ferry moving] I’m usually the bus driver!
Production Assistant: [into his radio] Bottom line is they can’t drive the boat. They’re actors!
I love how well thought-out this movie is. Especially how adverts and product placement is intertwined with the ‘everyday life’ of Truman.
Meryl (Truman’s wife): [holding up a jar of cocoa, slipping into advertising mode] Why don’t you let me fix you some of this Mococoa drink? All natural cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mount Nicaragua. No artificial sweeteners.
Truman: [looking around] What the hell are you talking about? Who are you talking to?
Meryl: I’ve tasted other cocoas. This is the best.
I like the theme of fate, and certain perceived coincidences that dictate our lives. The producer (Ed Harris) of The Truman Show plays God with Truman – something that some people believe to be true in their own lives. That their lives are out of their control, and in the hands of a higher being.
In that respect, Truman trying to escape this controlled environment is like people moving away from religion or considering a life without God. It’s scary taking responsibility for their own decisions and fate, but you’re rewarded with freedom.
Within this theme, is how fear controls people – touching on the media and advertising. The producers of The Truman Show ensured that Truman grew up being scared of water so that he would never want to board a boat and realise the town is a set. As a child, he was discouraged to becoming an explorer so that he would never want to board a plane and leave. He grew up on air, trapped by fear in order for him to stay put, spend money and consume products.
Fantastic, philosophical, almost coming-of-age kind of film. I love, love, love this film.
Truman: In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10