Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

The Truman Show (1998)

Directed by Peter Weir

Starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich


With Carrey, I expected unbridled silliness. What I got was an interesting drama and witty satire about life and television from Peter Weir. Carrey completely nails it (dare I say Oscar-worthy?), with the perfect combination of underacting and a hint of comedy. Laura Linney as Meryl was also great and should be considered for Best Supporting Actress. Unfortunately, since the main character the audience cares about most (Truman) didn’t give a shit about her by the end of the film, neither did the audience, and the performance is quickly forgotten. Ed Harris as Cristof was perfect.

The premise was definitely interesting, but I had a few questions about it. I don’t care what anyone says, a guy who is raised by and lives in a world of actors would have problems. No matter how good they act, it wouldn’t be real, and in that kind of environment, surrounded by fake parents, friends, and lovers, Truman would be screwed up psychologically. There’s something about the randomness and unpredictability of life that just can’t be replaced by any scripted upbringing. How come Truman, in 33 years of life, never caught on? Cristof’s line that “people just accept reality the way it is” doesn’t adequately explain how they managed to fool Truman for his whole life.

I question the size of the studio. The quick graphic we see on screen shows a rather small Epcot-like dome which looks 4-5 miles in diameter. I don’t think a man could live 33 years without venturing beyond a space that small.

Why does everything fall apart at once in the show?

And I have no idea why the security guards, who had been such avid fans of the show, would be so happy that Truman has chosen to venture into reality, bringing the show to an end. They non-chalantly choose to see what else is on TV, after presumably watching the show their whole life. In fact, at the end of the movie, EVERYONE seems happy that Truman has put an end to his fake life and the show they have been watching religiously for 33 years. It seems that Cristof and the global viewing audience were happy as long as Truman kept leading his fake life, and it would only make sense that they would be disappointed when Truman’s fake life, and the show, came to an end. Perhaps a transition showing the audience changing their feeling about Truman and the morality of show is in order. How about if Sylvia has led a national campaign against the show instead of just making a phone call?

So far, the best of 1998. Bring it on, Spielberg.

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