The Truman Show stars Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, and Ed Harris, and tells the story of a man who lives a rather ordinary life, but wants to become more. He soon finds out however, that his entire life is not what it seems to be and he sets out on a mission to discover the truth.
The Truman Show overflows with different ideas on how we view television, reality TV, celebrities, and life. The movie constantly shows viewers entranced by the television, watching Truman’s every move. Just two years after the films release, Survivor exploded across television hypnotizing viewers week after week. The first season finale was watched by an average 51 million viewers and Nielsen estimated that 125 million watched at least some portion of the finale. What is it about reality television that attracts so many viewers. The Truman Show was released a whole two years before Survivor, yet, they perfectly capture the power reality television has on its audience. What was the most enthralling was during the grand finale, everyone was glued to the TV. The bar was silent, all eyes on screen, the parking attendants were ignoring customers, and no one wanted to leave. The movie was so ahead of its time.
Going along with Survivor, at the end of the first season, all the contestants were instant celebrities. Viewers, “fell in love” with the different contestants on the show and even started obsessing over them. The problem is, they only ever saw these people on television. They never met the real person, they only knew them through the screen. Much like viewers of the Truman Show, the viewers fall in love with a man they only see through a television. He becomes a celebrity, and people start obsessing. There’s a sequence where the director of the show talks about the different break-ins they’ve had where people have snuck on set to try and meet Truman and reveal the secret to him. At one point, Truman gets on a bus and as he passes a little girl, she turns to her mom and asks, “Mom, isn’t that Truman?” This idea that we surround our lives sometimes around the things we see on TV is just fascinating.
The performances are absolutely magnificent. Jim Carey gives his best performance of his career outside of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He shows of his best acting chops and his entire performance is real. It never feels artificial. He is the perfect choice to play Truman. He has just the right amount of likability that it’s easy to see why the world falls in love with him. Ed Harris is also very good as Christof. His passion for this project is easily seen. He has a love for the world that he has created and he doesn’t want to lose it. He also has a very Godlike persona, and it really comes out in the last scene of the movie. Harris was no nominated for an Oscar for his part, and deservedly so. Carrey, on the other hand, was robbed of a nomination.
Burkhard Dallwitz’s score is beautiful and at times poignant. There are moments of liveliness and joy, then slower, and moving moments. Moments of longing and reaching. Dallwitz perfectly mixes classical music with his own music and it creates a mesmerizing score.
Peter Weir directs the movie with such passion and love. The movie often feels like a TV show. The movie is lit brighter and uses many television style angles. Weir understands this world perfectly and easily gets all the characters’ motives across. There are some great shots throughout the movie that perfectly portray the feelings these characters are going through. Peter Weir was received an Oscar nomination for his direction and he absolutely deserved it. It’s a shame he hasn’t done much since.
Overall, The Truman Show is a wonderful movie, one of Jim Carrey’s best movies, that’s filled with many different ideas of all kind. It’s a movie that all can enjoy and if you haven’t seen it, I highly, highly recommend you watch it.