THE TRUMAN SHOW
Escaping Personal Restrictions
Starring: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah
Emmerich, Holland Taylor & Ed
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 104 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Peter Weir
Producer: Edward S. Feldman & Scott
Writer: Andrew Niccol
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The producer of THE TRUMAN SHOW thinks he has all the factors controlled. He hand picked Truman from the womb, broadcast his birth and placed him in a fictional town on a fictional seashore. There are 5,000 hidden cameras scattered throughout the town capturing Truman’s every move. Truman’s friends and all of the townspeople are hired actors, who sometimes are fed lines from the producer. The episodes of Truman’s life are pre-scripted and are orchestrated by the actors. Until the present when he remembers a strange girl, Truman has been completely oblivious to all this.
Back in Truman’s teenage years, a girlfriend takes him to the beach and tells him that this is all a lie. Her father approaches quickly with a car, tells Truman that she is crazy and says they are moving to Fiji. After current events in Truman’s life becomes stale, Truman develops wanderlust and wants to escape. At every turn, he is discouraged by his wife (set-up of course) who wants to have a baby and is cut-off by traffic (carefully orchestrated) and other obstacles. The producer decides to bring Truman’s long lost father back to the set, so that Truman might be encouraged to stay and redevelop this acquaintance. Truman doesn’t buy it, and one day, he stages his escape.
Though creative, ambitious and containing wonderful set design, THE TRUMAN SHOW, shows the audience a Jim Carrey they have never known. Though certainly able and capable, his performance may leave audiences confused who are conditioned to his crazy antics. Not funny enough to be a black comedy and not whimsical enough to be an engaging fantasy, THE TRUMAN SHOW hangs in limbo, like Truman’s bogus life. The backstory of how the TV program THE TRUMAN SHOW came into existence and is currently edited remains more interesting than the current story of on film. Throughout the movie, there exists a very detached and impersonal mood, creating a sense of discomfort and disinterest. Finally, Truman’s liberation is emotionally anti-climatic, as a result of poor direction.
Nevertheless, THE TRUMAN SHOW remains an original, moral and insightful story on personal freedom. Though on a much more personal scale, THE TRUMAN SHOW covers some of the same ground as BRAVEHEART with elements of overcoming the greater powers that exert restrictions on the individual. Truman doesn’t do it for the glory of God, but for mere personal freedom, a freedom many take for granted. This movie doesn’t have any sex, and the only violence is action oriented. Likewise, foul language is restricted. His hometown is the image of perfection, but without freedom, it is a cold landscape, a picturesque but Orwellian society.