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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With "The Truman Show", released in 1998, Peter Weir delivers a
brilliant satire about the excesses of reality shows, with a prophetic
relevance disguised under a misleading comedic mask.
This underrated gem of the 90's, tells the original, to say the least, story of Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey in a breakthrough dramatic performance with this bit of tender wackiness we expect from him. Truman is an ordinary insurance salesman living in the small peaceful town of Seahaven. He's popular and lives in harmony with his wife, his mother, his best friend, his colleagues and neighbors. In appearance only
What Truman doesn't know, and here's the visionary originality on which relies his life, is that Seahaven, is in fact a huge studio with 5,000 cameras always keeping an eye on him and that everyone's an actor, including his wife, his mother, his best friend etc. and last but not least, all his life, was filmed since his birth to become the greatest and longest-running reality show in television history: 'The Truman Show'. Truman believed in a reality which is in fact, completely fictional, and all the protagonists of this pseudo reality, are puppets hanging on the string of the show's Creator who designs the perfect screenplay creating emotional cliffhangers for future episodes. The Creator is Kristoff, brilliantly portrayed by Ed Harris like a kind of almighty God, and the human incarnation of media's omnipotence. And Truman eventually realizes that his life is a huge hoax, and decides to leave the perfect utopia of Seahaven, and go discover the "real" world.
Because that's the point: reality shows don't depict reality, but paint it with fiction, it's real fiction, but fiction nonetheless. The ambivalence is obvious in "The Truman Show". Truman's life is fictional, because all the protagonists play a role in order to create a story for the viewers. Viewers who follow the show like a soap opera with a 'realistic' dimension. Indeed, Truman's character is real, as stated by the creator of the show, he is the only "real" protagonist of this world, his reactions are spontaneous and sincere. The reality is pushed to (unscrupulous) limits, because unlike other shows, Truman doesn't know he's filmed, he's natural. His life is a fiction, but paradoxically a 'real' one. This is the semantic loophole, unscrupulous TV program managers use to justify the unrealistic aspect of their shows.
The script's fascinating brilliance reminds of "Network" in the 70's, highlighting many unpleasant aspects of TV Reality, including the viewer's tacit complicity. Indeed, the viewer never minds the scripted aspect of reality as presented in TV programs as long as it improves his personal enjoyment, like for all these people who were assiduously following 'The Truman Show' in all over the world. The second aspect is the subjectivity of reality. Truman, for all his spontaneity and sincerity, was unknowingly following the storyline that producers traced. And all the situations were constructed to make him react according to a script. The process of mediation doesn't prevent from spontaneity, but it undermines its credibility by creating specific situations for premeditated reactions. Like in some programs where two people who don't appreciate each other or whose views totally differ, are both invited just to create a violent verbal confrontation -supposedly unexpected- to please the audience.
Finally, the main lesson of the film lies on the climax where Truman, tries to leave the fictional world of Seahaven, materialized by the powerful symbol of a dome painted like a sky. Truman struggles to get outside before he faces the producer of the show. The latter warns him against the dangers of a hostile real world where truth is no worthier than elsewhere, and invites him to join the perfect utopia of Seahaven, where he's a hero. Truman's reaction is very symbolic. He left the cameras' world, like an artist who addresses his fans for the last time, with his famous catchphrase as a farewell, and finally gets out. This last pirouette, sublimated by the thrilling score of the film, earned him the applause of the audience, as if the excitement made them forget that the show was ending. Indeed, when the show was finally interrupted, two viewers quickly recovered from their emotions, and zapped to another program. The end.
Truman is a genuine character, who understood the completely artificial status of his stardom. He therefore preferred to leave a charming utopia and face the real world. Television today launches ordinary people at the rank of stars for the simple reason that we, viewers, observed their everyday's moves, the details of their life's banality during weeks or months. But that kind of artificial popularity is inevitably ephemeral: it sinks into oblivion as soon as a new reality show emerges. And that's because camera's point view as depicted in the film, presents the reality in a dangerously subjective way. The 'staging', admitted by the public as it highlights positive values like friendship, fame, success, and empathy is a dangerous emotional depiction of reality. The risk is less for the viewer, who accepts the process, than for the protagonists of these emissions, whose purely artificial and prefabricated fame can lead to deep feelings of frustration later.
The emotional excitement is binary, and plays on both positive and negative poles, it may present for the sake of transparency, real people who suffer and live under difficult conditions, whether in the context of stories, talk or reality shows. The danger here is moral, because with this constant clash between reality and fiction, how can we be sure that the depiction of suffering and frustration will inspire the audience positive psychological reactions like compassion and solidarity rather than a voyeuristic sadism mixed with a circumstantial empathy?
"The Truman Show", denounces the fictionalization of reality, through a remarkable fiction, that makes today's reality look like a less believable fiction
"The Truman Show" is a rarity in Hollywood - or movies in general - a
film that actually makes the audience think, and is about ideas. How do
we know what we see is real? Why do we accept what is around us without
questioning it? What would happen if we found out that a fundamental we
were making about the world turned out to be completely wrong? You'd
think a movie that was about those things would be a chore to get
through, but in fact "The Truman Show" is great fun. I certainly
wouldn't call it a comedy (although there are a few light moments here
and there), but it's not too heavy and goes down easy.
It might sound like exaggeration, but the scene where Truman first starts to realize what's going on is one of the best scenes I've seen in any movie, because of Carrey's acting, the direction, and also because of the Philip Glass soundtrack (which was critical to making that scene work).
If you haven't seen The Truman Show, do yourself a favor and check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie represents something that is not real. It is fiction. The premiss
is, however, real. If there was a show on, where you got to follow a young
man growing up, and living his life, there would be a LOT of people
watching. Some people WOULD more or less put their lives on hold during
significant moments of the show. This is the sheer brilliance of this movie.
And rest assured: This movie is very, very good. A friend recently asked me
what movie is my all time favorite, and I answered "Casablanca." A modern
movie is harder to come up with. This one could qualify.
There have been arguments that a show of this kind would not be followed, if it were real life, with audiences being fickle. The thing is that the show changes. Christof (fantastically played by Ed Harris) has thrown in all kinds of things happening to Truman (Will we ever see Jim Carrey better? I don't think I could take that in!), nothing majorly life-altering, but subtle changes, which keeps up the dynamics of the show.
And come on! If you don't think that people could get that involved: Just look at stuff like Big Brother. For some reason, people seem to want more. People want things that can help them take their mind off things. People WANT to watch "perfect" worlds. Otherwise shows like "Beverly Hills 90210" and games like "The Sims" would not exist. "The Sims" is, more or less, your own little Truman Show.
As for "people putting their lives on hold" to convince Truman that what he sees is real... It's called acting, and I think they would be paid pretty well.
All in all: this is what producers of "reality shows" do to the participants on a daily basis. The participants emerge (from a Big Brother house or similar) only to see that the producers have done exactly whatever they want with the participants' lives. In essence, a lot of the people who go into a "Big Brother" house, are going to have their lives wrecked. The producers can do exactly anything they want, in that respect.´
I truly hope that this is not something we will ever see. The problem is that we are moving towards more and more extreme reality shows. I just hope someone pulls the plug.
****** Major spoiler!!!! Contains the ending of the movie!!!!!!!******
What is actually the most chilling aspect of the ending is the two security guards, who simply switch from watching a person whose life has been led by someone else, to saying "So what else is on?" This gives me the creeps, because this is as close as you can get to modern television "moral." Truman's life, after having been watched for over 30 years, is worth nothing more than the press of a button.
As many fans know, Jim Carrey is the man when it comes to slapstick
comedy. His comical physicality is outrageous and his ability to
emulate anything from cartoons to other actors is top notch. But
anytime before 1998 I think I can safely say that not many people saw
Carrey try and jump out of his shell and try a role that wasn't truly
in the comedy genre. I definitely didn't see it coming. And to be
honest, I wasn't sure if I would really enjoy it. But in the end, I
did, not only because of how well Carrey portrayed his character but
with an excellent story to back if up.
The plot is about Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) who is viewed live 24 hours a day, uncensored, as a soap opera to the real world through public broadcasting. The thing is, Truman Burbank is the only one who doesn't know this. Everything else around is all a set-up. And when I mean everything,...everything...is a set-up. Even the sun is fake! Nothing is real. All the people Burbank knows are all actors. People who go through the same routine every day.
And that's partially what makes this film so great. Every piece of the "set" that Truman Burbank lives in is so believable. Along with this is Christof, acted by Ed Harris. Christof is the creator of Truman's world and he essentially plays God. Everything that Truman Burbank is as a person, was created under the supervision of Christof. The whole story itself, written by Andrew Niccol, brings up the controversial issue of nature vs nurture. Who should have control over whose life. Well I think that answer is obvious.
Jim Carrey himself actually does have some comedic moments but it's not because he wants the movie to be a comedy. Carrey does what he does because it is the connection to how a human would react to such a situation that makes it funny. And along with those funny moments comes a real emotional performance. Sure Carrey can deliver laughs but also proves that he can portray human drama. That's a question a lot of people wanted to see if Carrey could pull off and he did it well.
Adding to the emotion is composer Philip Glass' score. Yes, it did evoke the right emotions and I don't think it needed a theme either for this particular story. Usually I do, but it didn't seem necessary here. Unfortunately for me, I prefer to see Jim Carrey in his comedic skin. I didn't mind the different role that he took on here but it didn't feel like I was watching the movie I wanted to see. And I'll admit, I put too much thought into believing Jim Carrey would've made the film more comedy than drama, so basically I disappointed myself. So on that note, it could be disappointing to fans of Carrey for his comedic films as well.
As the first drama film that comic gut buster Jim Carrey stars in, it is not that bad as some would expect it to be. Carrey can deliver a performance like real human but for the hardcore fans, it may upset.
Have you ever felt like your not alone in you house. That maybe just
maybe there's over half of the world watching you. The Truman Show is a
film about a man called Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey). Who lives a normal
life; with his normal job. But he is living in an abnormal world.
Because Truman is living in his own world called sea heaven; sea heaven
is actually a set and his home and job is all a lie. Truman has a world
based around him and what ever he does the citizens of sea heaven have
to go along with it. His Mum, Dad, Wife and even his best friend are
all actors. The Truman show is filmed with the highest technology in
cameras around. Small clip on cameras that can clip on to a jacket and
not be seen. But when Truman sees that elevators have 4 men drinking
tea in the back of them and that the radio has co-ordinates of his
position on it he starts to get suspicious. The Truman Show has been
nominated for three Oscars and has won three Baftas. Award winning
director peter weir worked with paramount pictures to make this film a
masterpiece. The Truman Show is a film that just about makes up for the
horrible disasters of Godzilla and Armageddon, this film might be the
film of the 90's.
The Truman Show had a strict budget of $60 million and earned $125 million in film screenings alone. The Truman Show hasn't got any fancy graphics or any expensive cars or props its just pure film making and passion.
Overall the Truman Show is a very good film, but my only criticism is that some of the background actors didn't look like they knew what they were doing. But overall there was no big mistakes in the plot. I would give this a five star rating.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Truman Show is a satirical comedy-drama with a cast includes Jim
Carrey as Truman Burbank, as well as Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Ed
Harris and Natascha McElhone. The film chronicles the life of a man who
is initially unaware that he is living in a constructed reality
television show, broadcast around the clock to billions of people
across the globe. Truman becomes suspicious of his perceived reality
and embarks on a quest to discover the truth about his life.It was
written by Andrew Niccol and directed by Peter Weir.
Truman Burbank is unaware that his entire life is a hugely popular 24- hour-a-day TV series. Every moment of his existence is captured by concealed cameras and telecast to a giant global audience. His friends and family are actors who smile pleasantly at Truman's familiar catchphrase greeting, "In case I don't see you later, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" Employed at an insurance company, he is married to merry Meryl, and they live in the cheerful community of Seahaven, an island where the weather is always mild and no unpleasantness intrudes. This is the basic situation of the series, which has grown over the years into a billion-dollar franchise for the TV network. As an unwanted pregnancy, Truman was adopted by the network and raised in the zoolike environment of a TV soundstage. Thus, the TV audience became hooked when Truman was very young. Now, at age 30, he still doesn't know he's a prisoner on an immense domed city-size soundstage, simulating Seahaven. Both the illusion and the ratings will collapse if Truman ever leaves Seahaven. In addition to elaborate events staged to make sure he stays put, Truman is given constant reminders of how wonderful Seahaven is compared to dangers in other parts of the world. However, his growing suspicions make him curious enough to try to leave, and the show's director and master manipulator Christof (Ed Harris) must constantly devise ways to thwart Truman's escape attempts. To enter the harbor, Truman must overcome his fear of water.
This is a funny, tender, and thought-provoking film.It is noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.The issues it tackles are just as relevant now than they were when the film was first released theatrically.Also,it has great performances from the cast especially from Jim Carrey in what may be the performance of his career.
You may not like it, but you have to respect it.
Brilliant, thoughtful director Peter Weir (The Last Wave AKA Black Rain, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Master and Commander, Gallipoli, Dead Poets Society, Fearless and many others) teams up with excellent screenwriter Andrew Niccol and a great cast to give us a science fiction film with a range of emotions exceedingly rare for big budget mainstream cinema. In addition to the really disturbing questions the film raises about the nature of reality, metaphysics, religion, entertainment, human cruelty, voyeurism, and the concept of freedom, the film also offers a glimpse of humanity simultaneously occupying its worst and best aspects.
The cast is phenomenally good. Carrey gives Truman the life his rich and sympathetic character he deserves - providing some of the most disturbing comedy I have ever witnessed. Tasha McElhone, Ed Harris, Peter Krause and Laura Linney are all excellent - though you may end up hating most of them for various reasons as the film progresses.
Truman's entire life, from his birth onward has been one long TV show. He is literally being broadcast 24/7/365 and he knows nothing of it. His mom, wife, best friend, and everybody around him are all cast members. And the show is shot in a giant set which simulates an island. Because of a traumatic experience with the sea during his childhood, Truman does not feel free to travel away from his island home.
Yet Truman is oddly compelled to explore the world and has begun to suspect that something is very wrong. Meanwhile, in what we like to think of as the REAL WORLD, everybody is watching him. People stay home from work to participate vicariously in his life in hopes that they will somehow catch a clue to "how it will end."
This film is pretty heavy. You might find it amusing the first time you watch it, but once you've allowed it to exhaust you a few times, all that is left is the superb craft and the intense and disturbing ideas it constantly bombards you with. The film has a dark side and a hopeful, light (but never airy) side which - amazingly - is exposed concurrently with the heavy stuff.
The cinematography is as picture-perfect as most of the work Weir is associated with. The acting is remarkably good all around, with those mentioned above in the outstanding roles. Sound is usually a very important component of Weir's films, but it's a little underexploited in the Truman Show - perhaps to (sometimes with painful force) draw the audience's attention to the profoundly insane dialog.
The Truman Show is plot heavy, heavy, a little funny, and profoundly smart. Do not see it under the influence of anything detrimental to your mind or emotional balance......
FLEX YOUR HEAD.
I stopped watching tv for two weeks after I saw The Truman Show, and now I try not to watch anything other than the news or movies. Jim Carrey CAN act in a drama, and he was simply incredible in this movie.
This is a good movie, and it could've been great, though unfortunately it
For one, the idea for the story was thought-provoking, intriguing. Too bad they didn't make the most out of it ... that's the feeling I got somehow. I felt it could've been better. Maybe it was the way it was written. Who knows.
The acting was, well, ... it was fine enough, though I can't honestly say that it was wonderful, because I've seen a lot more which was better. Ed Harris was good, and Jim Carrey was OK. I guess perhaps all those rave reviews came because people got a revelation with another side of Jim Carrey in this movie, but I think he still has a long way to go. Still, this is a good start!
This is a good movie, though it could've been great. Too bad it wasn't ... Anyway, we can hope for better movies. Get another great idea. Then make it !!!!!!!! The Truman Show got the first one down, now we need movies which follows up both.
"It's a good movie, I guess, but once you leave the theater, that's it, it's
over." But if you really do want more of that paranoic fun of watching
reality unravel you can read this story:
"Time Out of Joint" by Philip K. Dick
Synopsis: Ragle Gumm was living with his sister and her family in 1959 solving newspaper puzzles. But his normal life began to change one day, and he noticed things getting really strange. He thought he was losing his mind. But, instead, he was going sane, and the year was 1996.
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