The Truman Show

9:00 AM

Major spoiler alert, kay?


Many movies criticize Tv and modern culture. Take Idiocracy for example. I love this movie, but it gets a little too painful (and gross) to watch. Other movies are more reflexive and dramatic such as Network.  And then there's the Truman Show.

Truman Show is one of my favorite movies: it is entertaining and talks about serious things, it criticizes parts of modern life and it has some symbolism to pleases geeks like me. Plus, I'm a big Jim Carey fan, but don't hold that against me.

Jim Carey is Truman Burbank - the first baby legally adopted by a corporation - and he is the star of a reality show. He is also the only person who is unaware of it. The show is a big hit, with product placement pouring over checks to the network. The creator of the show, Cristof, seems to think Truman likes his reality. He says Truman could leave any time he wants and could find out the truth if he wanted to.

Things start getting tricky when Truman gets clues he is being watched, that the whole world revolves around him, that everything is fake.

An interesting question to me is: do we like watching the movie "The Truman Show" or do we like watching the reality show "The Truman Show"? Or both?

There a lot of different people who obsessively watch Truman in his reality show: people in a bar, old ladies, a guy in a tub, valets in a parking lot, a Japanese couple. But do we really identify ourselves with them? I am all for the "turn off the Tv, read a book" but does the movie really get the message across, like Idiocracy and Network?

I'd say yes, but not totally. We focus more on Truman and his predicament and less on the people that are addicted to the show. After all, we also want to know what will happen to Truman. 

 
If criticism on Tv is secondary*, what do we get from Truman's personal story? Here's the part I prefer not to think about too much.

Some people say that it is an agnostic movie. Truman needs to break free from this entity who watches and controls him all the time. The knowledge that he is being watched is actually despairing and his highest goal should be to achieve independence and freedom.

Not only the names Truman and Cristof support this, but there's also the fact that in the script there was another character involved in the production of the show named Moses (!).

Truman's ship has the number 139 in the sail which is a recognized reference to Psalm 139 ("whither shall I go from thy spirit?")

But there's another possible opposite interpretation. Cristof could represent the devil. He created a fake world, mimicking the real world and forcing Truman to believe his make-believe world, which is devoid of truth etc.

Now, I can't seem to decide which interpretation fits best but all this really bugs me, because if I had to take a guess I'd say the 1st interpretation is more accurate. And going down this road makes me a bit paranoid in the sense that you always feel movies are trying to sell you something you're against without you knowing it.

I'd love to discover that deep down the 2nd interpretation is the most accurate but still, I think The Truman Show makes a good point when it comes to Tv and our addiction to it, even if that's not the main focus. 

What is your interpretation of The Truman Show? Do you like Jim Carey on more dramatic roles?

* There actually exists a medical condition called "The Truman Show Delusion": a person believes his life is a reality show.

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2 comments

  1. I think Jim Carey should snap out of it. Number 23 and Eternal shine of a spotles mind are notwhat he should be doing... I enjoy his comedies better, or even The truman show, a serious comedy. The Truman Show made me feel all tingly. It's like in the end a new story is going to begin. And you feel like a whole world is opening in front of truman and you're there too, because you're watching everything he does.
    I think it can be interpreted in both ways. It's ambiguous.
    xoxo

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  2. Hahaha, I think many people think Jim Carey should snap out if, but in a different sense.

    I liked Number 23 a lot, actually. Didn't think the movie was bad or that he was bad in it. I think that he can do both, but that sometimes the movie is bad in itself (I remember Man on the Moon was pretty painful to watch!)

    And maybe you're right, it might be ambiguous and the two ways of interpreting it could be accepted. xx

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Thanks for commenting! Do come back because I usually reply to comments here.

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