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An unassuming film that is thought provoking on so many levels, well acted and thoroughly enjoyable however you come to it
bob the moo29 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Truman Burbank is an ordinary guy in an ordinary little seaside town of Seahaven Island where nothing really happens. Everything is clean, everything is perfect, he knows people but never really connects to anyone. The one woman he ever really loved is not his wife and has long since left for the other side of the world where he longs to visit but feels he can never go. Paralysed by his fear of water since seeing his father die on a boating accident, Truman still feels he is missing something. A strange light falling from the sky, a man who reminds him of his dead father, a strange radio broadcast and the feeling that the world really stops when he shuts his eyes all combine to make him feel something is wrong – but what is it that he seeks but feels he cannot find?

When I first saw this film it was with my girlfriend (who would then become my wife, then ex-wife!) and I remember how she and our friends felt a little bit cheated by the film that they had expected to be yet another wacky Jim Carrey comedy. In fairness to her and the others, it was easy to do this at the time – who would have thought that Jim Carrey would be able to act – certainly not the marketing department that sold this film on the basis of it being a hilarious film as opposed to the thoughtful and rewarding film it turned out to be. The plot can be viewed on so many levels that it is honestly easier to leave it to each viewer to take what they will from it. On the most obvious level it satirises the media, the emotional façade of television and (the increasingly relevant) look at reality shows. To others it will say as much about God, the empty drone of life and the things that we all desire. Of course to others it will just be a comedy with general comments to make – and there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever; in fact the multi-level approach works to make it appeal to many audiences.

Starting as a comedy, I am always taken by how well the film moves to become more and more interesting but yet never loses sight of those audience members who have come for the basic story. Hence it delivers an enjoyable and engaging central narrative that, plainly put, makes for a comic and involving yarn – we grow to care for Truman and this makes the ending an emotional and satisfying one even if some viewers will bemoan the fact that (to them) it appears 'open ended'. That it is also a very thought-provoking affair is only a bonus, with the satire working on many levels. Of course by seeming to tackle so many subjects and issues in such a short running time, the film never really gets its teeth deep into any one of them but this is not a major problem because it leaves us to do that in our heads after the film finishes.

The cast is roundly superb even if the majority of them are in minor roles. Of course it is easy now to look back at Carrey and accept that he can act straight but at the time it seemed so unlikely and few felt it was a good casting choice. Of course, seeing the end result it is clear that he can and he delivers such a great performance that he really makes the film work.

He is comic but yet serious, sympathetic but not worthy of pity – it is a great delivery and one that basically meant that I now look at his Ace Ventura stuff as the 'other' category and see his acting as his real work (6 years ago that was vice versa). Carrey carries the film, being on screen for almost the entire film but he has good support from Linney, Emmerich, Krause and others who play it well despite being stuck in the necessary stiff and unreal roles. The controller etc roles are all well played and feature a collection of well known faces including a great support role from Harris through to roles for Giamatti, Shearer, Baker Hall and a few others. It may be Carrey's show but the support certainly helps.

Overall this is a great film that can be appreciated as much for what it is on the surface (a great little comic story) as it can for the issues that it hints at all the time. There was a time when some viewers may have looked to a Carrey film to be a load of mugging an crude, basic laughs but this was the film that saw that change. Thought provoking, funny, entertaining, short, enjoyable and well acted throughout – well worth seeing and well worth coming back to several times.
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10/10
Genius
Altaira12 June 1999
I asked a friend to describe The Truman Show. He said, "No, it's not a comedy, well...not exactly." I didn't quite understand until I watched it myself. Truman takes on a tone quite different than any parody/comedies I've seen lately. The point (the media and its destructive powers) is subtlely relayed through dark humor, and you don't feel like the director is smashing you over the head with his morals. Peter Weir demonstrated his artistic genius in Dead Poets Society and here as well. The soundtrack is great, Ed Harris is stellar (what were they THINKING at the Academy?) and for once I actually liked Jim Carrey. His performance wasn't ribald for once. The final scene--I will not reveal it--is a majestic, long-awaited finish to an intellectual movie. Some people will insist that it was boring or pointless. Those are the same viewers who prefer slapstick, obvious humor to the subtle layers presented here. This is a thinking person's movie. If you can't see the underlying message here, of course you won't like it!
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10/10
A True American Classic
kingoham515 December 1999
When I first saw 'The Truman Show' I came out of the theatre amazed. This is your first clue that you are watching something different from your normal Jim Carrey movie. I love the dialogue, camera shot, performances, direction, music, and running time of this movie. There is nothing I would do to change it. I came away from 'The Truman Show' feeling inspired which is the goal of good filmmaking Jim Carrey was outstanding as Truman, underplaying him, not making him too comic or too dramatic, but giving true sincerity when asked. He deserved an Oscar nomination. Ed Harris has always been a good actor, but in this movie he's a great actor. He plays Christof with such arrogance and bullheadedness that you don't know whether he's helping or destroying Truman. He and the director, Peter Weir, deserved their Oscar nods.

Weir, who directed the great 'Witness', uses different camera angles to make you feel like you're actually watching 'The Truman Show' and not a movie. He ends it before you get tired of the concept and helped Carrey and Harris give immaculate performances. Andrew Niccol script is a real star in the movie too because of it's inventiveness and ingenuity. Overall, 'The Truman Show' is what I like to call a true American classic.
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10/10
Life is Starting to Imitate Satire
James Hitchcock31 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Life is starting to imitate satire. "The Truman Show" was only made seven years ago, but it predates the current mania for so-called "reality" television shows such as "Big Brother". The idea behind such shows is that they present the viewer with a slice of actual reality- real people in real situations with real emotions- rather than the simulated reality of drama or the edited reality of documentaries. The flaw in this idea is that nothing is more unreal than a reality show. The presence of the cameras has a distorting effect, inducing artificial behaviour patterns in those who appear in front of it, and the sort of people who star in such programmes are almost invariably eccentric exhibitionists. "The Truman Show" takes the central concept of reality TV shows one stage further in order to overcome this flaw: what would happen if we made a reality programme about a person who has absolutely no idea that he is appearing on television? Truman Burbank is an insurance executive, living in a small American seaside town called Seahaven, and happily married to a nurse named Meryl. Or at least he thinks he is. What Truman doesn't know is that he is the central character in a soap opera and that his whole life is a fiction. The company he works for does not exist. Seahaven, the island it stands on and the surrounding ocean are all part of a gigantic set, specially created for the programme and sealed off from the outside world in a gigantic geodesic dome. Everyone in Truman's life- Meryl, his mother, his colleagues at work, his best friend Marlon- are actors playing out their roles in his drama.

For thirty years Truman has accepted his world unquestioningly, but at the beginning of the film a series of incidents- a light falling from the sky, the reappearance of his father, who was supposed to have drowned in a boating accident when Truman was a boy, strange messages picked up on his car radio- awaken his doubts. Although members of the cast make strenuous attempts to dissuade him, he decides to try and explore the world outside Seahaven; in particular he wants to travel to Fiji where he has been told that his former girlfriend Sylvia now lives. (Sylvia was written out of the show when the scriptwriters decided that he should marry Meryl instead).

The film has certain similarities with another film from the late nineties, "Pleasantville", which dealt with an inverted version of the same idea; two teenagers from the real world are magically transported into the world of a fifties television show. In my view, however, "The Truman Show" is the better of the two. "Pleasantville" deals with its political themes in a heavy-handed way with some very obvious symbolism. "The Truman Show", although it deals with some weighty issues, is never ponderous or excessively serious; indeed, it is often very humorous. The main source of humour is the contrast between the naïve, trusting Truman and the behaviour of those around him, all living a lie and desperately trying to prevent Truman from finding out that it is a lie. I had previously thought of Jim Carrey as a rather annoying actor whose appeal was based upon the idea that manic overacting is in itself funny, but here as Truman he is very good indeed, both amusing and touching. I was also impressed by Ed Harris as Christof, the show's enigmatic producer.

Another factor in the success of the film is its visual look. Seahaven (like the town in "Pleasantville") appears as an eerily perfect, not-quite-real version of the typical American small town, but was actually filmed in a real place, the purpose-built village of Seaside, Florida. There are similarities with the cult British sixties television series "The Prisoner", which was also filmed in an eerily perfect seaside village, Portmeirion in North Wales.

The film is obviously a satire on the intrusiveness and obsession with celebrity of the modern media; added relevance was given by the fact that it came out shortly after the death of Princess Diana. There is, however, more to it than that. Much has been made of the film as religious allegory; it has been pointed out that Christof whose name is clearly, and quite deliberately, similar to "Christ", is a God-figure, whereas Truman (the "True Man") is a symbolic Everyman. It has even been claimed that the film is an anti-religious allegory, with Truman's final escape from Seahaven symbolic of man's need to break away from outdated religious dogmas. This is not an interpretation with which I would agree- if one is trying to put across a "God is dead" message, it seems odd to provide a God-figure who is very much real, not mythical or illusory. The imagery of the final scenes – the calm after the storm, the ascent up a flight of stairs into the sky and clouds- also struck me as religious rather than secular. Moreover, the film seems too complex to be reduced to any single allegorical meaning, although it certainly deals with the relationship between man and God. It also touches on man's need to explore- both to explore new places and also to explore new ideas and to break away from established ways of life and ways of thought- and on the nature of reality. Truman's world may seem unreal to us, but as Christof says, "we accept the reality we are presented with".

This is a brilliant, multi-layered film, part comedy, part satire, part philosophical speculation, and in my view one of the two best movies of the late nineties. (The other was "American Beauty"). I felt it should have taken the "Best Picture" Oscar for 1999- "Shakespeare in Love" is a good film, but "The Truman Show" is a great one. It confirms my view that Peter Weir is one of the best directors currently working. 10//10
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10/10
Ashaming....
DoctorKay19 January 2005
Ashaming that the Academy of motion picture arts and sciences has never realized what a brilliant actor Jim Carrey really is. The is no explanation for him not getting the Oscar for the Truman Show, there is no excuse for not even nominating him for The Truman Show and Man on the Moon. I like the academy Awards, most of the time it is a fair thing, but in that year it was a disaster. How else can you explain that in the year of Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line and of course The Truman Show the most boring and joyless film of all time Shakespeare in Love gets eight, I repeat, eight Oscars and the Truman Show gets none? I think it is because Jim has made so much Comedy, nobody really knows what tough work comedy means. It is ashaming that the Academy is sometimes still driven by outdated prejudices. For me, Jim Carrey is the greatest and most versatile actor in the world! And The Truman Show is The greatest performance by an actor I have ever seen on screen. Finished!
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10/10
One of the Most Original Films Ever Made
Mark19889 April 2007
'The Truman Show' epitomizes strong and original storytelling on screen. This film is emotionally engaging, didactic, witty, dramatic and very unique. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Truman Burbank has never left his ideal home town of Sea Haven. What he doesn't know is that his entire environment is a materialized set and he is the ignorant star of a reality TV show of epic proportions.

Taking this entirely original concept, writer Andrew Niccol and director Peter Wier take the viewer into territory uncharted by anything in film history. Thus, the plot is entirely unpredictable but still flows along expertly. The tightness of the screenplay and the immaculate pacing of Peter Wier contribute largely to this film's brilliance.

The acting performances are amongst the best I've ever seen. Jim Carey is superb as Truman, effortlessly conveying his fears, desires and personality. Ed Harris is excellent as the reclusive creator of the production. In addition, the entire support cast appears synthetic enough to let the audience know they are "acting" for Truman but in some scenes let their "genuine" feelings shine through. The ensemble simply cannot be faulted. Carey was hardly done by not to get an Oscar nomination for his performance.

The music and visuals are top notch. The cinematography has a reality TV feel that is clever but never intrusive. The shot selection is of the highest quality, particularly in the movie's final sequence. Muscially, this film is incredible. Phillip Glass is a dream on the piano, perfectly evoking the mood for each section of the narrative. The two combine excellently during the scene in which Truman breaks his routine for the first time. During the sequence, Truman makes subtle changes to the bland routine he follows compliantly every day. The emotion of the music when combined with the apparent simplicity of Truman's actions makes this scene one the most powerful I'v ever experienced.

This film is an absolute gem. It effortlessly combines everything a classic film should have. It has comedy, drama, strong character development, atmosphere, originality, superb visuals, a superb score, tight writing, raises interesting moral questions as well as providing insight into the human condition. One cannot watch this spectacular film without wondering how a human would react when put in that kind of situation. It touches on our sense of adventure, desire for conformity and the courage we require to question the life we are presented with. 'The Truman Show' does all this in the most accessible and compelling fashion. One of the greatest films of our time.
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8/10
Lawn Mowing At Its Best
daveisit10 July 2005
"The Truman Show" owes a lot to the direction of Peter Weir. Weir refuses to pump out the movies in a search for extra dollars. Instead he chooses wisely and directs brilliantly. Just by looking at a list of his movies will surprise and even amaze you. So as you would imagine "The Truman Show" is another success.

Truman Burbank has the perfect life, or so he thought until finally his life long suspicions about his world begin to unravel. Even though the idea for Truman is not totally original, it is thought provoking enough and allows the audience to wonder, what if? If you think this couldn't happen, just look back over the years at the stupidity of the human race and think again.

Jim Carrey once again nails his role, as do the entire cast. It is rare he fails to perform at a level that perfectly complements the movie and its genre. This is something he does not receive enough credit for. Acting for a comical role or a more dramatic role requires no less effort for the performance to be spot on.
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10/10
The most multidimensional movie ever !!!!!!
drpavlovic141119 November 2011
It not so easy to be Jim Carrey, because nobody takes you seriously after many funny movies, even when he is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. He proved himself so many times in dramas, he is so great actor.

This time, there is no grade for the script, 10 is too low, maybe 10++ would suffice. I must agree that in everything around us we can see only what we are capable to see, but this movie gives so many levels and many people would see it differently and ALL WILL BE THRILLED by this movie.

People who are interested in the phenomenon of 'Big Brother',a kind of TV voyeurism (so present today) will see the ultimate human desire to observe somebody's life, from its beginning, and without consent of the person which is the object of that observing. There is nothing special in this man who is watched, but we like to have mirrors of our lives in other people (who knows why).

Of course, the next layer is ethical: do we have the right to watch somebody's life, because we don't talk about a rat, but a human being who doesn't know that he is watched in a TV show.

If we go further, we must ask ourselves, what is real in our life? There is is always some possibility that we are observed, directed, guided, monitored..., by somebody and our life is not so authentic as we used to think.

Next layer: this movie talks about freedom and personal choice. How we want to be free, no matter what are the other alternatives are. Free to love who we want, free to go, free as much as it is possible. Of course, if we want to be free, if our mind and society stop us.

FINALLY... The most interesting level is the spiritual one.This is a guidebook of the spiritual path. At first, this world is so secure and predictable place. We have our little lives and we can define everything what is important for us, to have some simplification of reality, to feel safe. This kind of ordinary life is a bit boring, but we are in a herd, we are not alone in our dungeon.

But..., at some moment, this world is maybe not what we thought it is..., maybe we want more of our lives,and the world is not so simple and ordinary place. We feel that there is something BEHIND this so- called 'reality'. And we start to search, to test that reality, which gives us more and more 'magic' things as we go deeper. This is still a stage of curiosity, many people tasted this path and feeling, but at some superficial level.

If we go further, we must fight the world. All possible obstacles will arise, people and circumstances. When Truman wants to see reality what it is, to be free, all his 'friends' and the complete crew don't let him to go our the ordinary tracks. So alike the spiritual quest.

Then, the moment has come, men must be separated from boys, that is, the curious people from the real seekers. The latter are ready to give even their lives, to 'waste' their time, to face their worst fears, to be 'hunted' by the society (which wants they to be 'normal' again)..., but a true spiritual person won't give up. The same as Truman ('you'l have to kill me!!!!!!!'), the quest is the real one only if we are totally determined to follow our inner feeling and to search the truth.

AT LAST..., we hit the 'border' of the world, the frontiers of the reality, we get know what this world really is. We are free to talk with our 'God' (though I think it is the final trick of our ego, to bring us back to be 'normal' again and it plays so many games to pull us back, by saying that there is nothing out there, everything is the same, and it is better in realm of ILLUSION).

Only a real spiritual person will say 'thanks' for the offer, and go to freedom, no matter what it is, but it is OUR freedom, our insight, the world won't be the same anymore.

It is such a pity that this is a kind of review, that I can't make a spoiler, to give more details, to relate the scenes from the movie and my points. But when you see it, you'll know what I am talking about.

Again, you'll see what you are able to see, the movie will be deep in degree of your ability to open your mind. This scenario can't be beaten even by movies like Gandhi or Mozart, or any other. An excellent work of Andrew Niccol.
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8/10
Ambitious and Entertaining Treatise on the Reality Media Creates for Us
It's not often a Hollywood film arrives with such lofty ambitions as this. On one hand this is a high concept comedy in the vein of "Groundhog Day" about an unwitting man whose entire life has been a TV show. This is also a Jim Carrey vehicle designed to display his charms. On the other hand this a very satirical look at the way the media manipulates our reality. The film also wants to take a philosophical look at free will vs. a higher power and reality vs. fantasy. It doesn't always work as the satire often keeps you from thinking too deeply about the underlying themes and the philosophical stuff keeps the satire from biting as well as it could. Credit engaging performances and solid and thoughtful direction from Weir for keeping things afloat and entertaining. There are some great cinematic moments here. I loved the "stolen kiss on the beach at night" and "Cue the sun!"

In the end this film is closer in spirit to psychological dramas and sci-fi movies where a person suddenly realizes they are the pawn in some grand experiment or a prisoner in an alien world than it is to anything in our current "reality TV" obsessed culture. Eventually it touches on a very basic conflict all humans must face (most people do so in childhood, some I fear never do). The universe does not revolve around us. In the closing moments we are excited for Truman because he finally realizes there is a whole new world out there to explore, but also slightly saddened because we know all to well that he will never be able to return to that idyllic "childhood" existence. How's it going to end? Who knows...but things will never be the same.
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10/10
One of the best movies in history
Val Issa1 December 2006
I loved this movie. Everything about it. It is one you just want to watch over and over again. Jim Carey, as usually, played an amazing role. He made you think you were him, as the whole movie did. Watch it... its a must.

Imagine being captivated all your life in a show, without knowing. Your neighbors, your family, your loved ones... everyone you ever knew were just actors, pretending to be people they are not. Well Truman Burbank not only imagined it, but also lived it. This is a hilarious movie, that will catch you from the first minute you watch it. Just be aware... once you start watching it, it will be difficult to stop. I rate this movie 5/5, with no negative comments.
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An On-Film Miracle
J.Bond8 August 1998
Although it sometimes seems that Hollywood is catering to the lowest common denominator of everything, The Truman Show is proof that there are great ideas that are able to be turned into great movies. Jim Carrey plays an excellent role as a man with whom you can emphasize as well as be entertained by. The film's surrealistic nature is frightening when the viewer realizes the legal feasibility in today's society, and it offers a great message about who or what we assume God to be and how He (he?) would react to our personal drives for discovery to challenge a world we treat as an aquarium. Some things to note and ponder: The way the real-life viewers ignore the real lives of their compatriots and customers while focusing on a false life on screen; whose life is more real and whose is worth living? Also, note that Christof does not have his name listed among the "real world" in the credits, but in "Christof's World." His high-profile media-driven life is no different from Truman's!
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10/10
Finally a movie that makes us think
Rosemea D.S. MacPherson1 February 1999
Warning: Spoilers
When I was a young adult on the search for my true self, religion and God; I found myself reading all kinds of books such as: Demian, Sidarta, Brave New World, 1984, the works of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Bolvoir. The world of Truman Burbank certainly took me back to those days. I used to look at myself in the mirror and say out loud: "I wonder if I am me? I wonder if everybody thinks the same shade of red when I say red? Why was I born? Why are my parents my parents? Why did God create the world? Will I get punished by God for thinking all these things?" This is a deep movie, bound to become an art film. Jim Carey did such a superb job that it earned him a Golden Globe Award. This is definitely an Oscar contender. It made me think! What a suprise! Movies do not make me think very often. They are predictable to me now. Could it be age?

When the lady comes on the bike with the basket, then the dog and then the yellow Volkswagen it reminded me of how repetitive life seems at times, when we think that nothing is going to change and we want changes. The Director was like God, the creator, although at times he was a mean guy, I think that all of us have questioned God and have been angry at him. Truman's world seemed so "perfect", no messy hair, no trash. Just phony! Our world seems much like that, everything is a matter of perception.

The audience that watched the Truman Show in the movie was a hedonistic audience of consumers who wanted to be entertained no matter what the cost to Truman, reminded me of the soaps, of the Paparazzi, of how we like to know about the celebrities, and ultimatly of how the product could be the death of someone such as Princess Diana, or Truman Burbank.

Purchase the video and watch it many times and many other symbols will come to mind. Like Jim Carey stated while he received the Golden Globe that he would enjoy it down to the crunchy chewy part.
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The Boy In The Bubble
Jeremy Phillips16 March 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Having been bandied about the release schedules for the best part of a year, Carrey's first semi-dramatic film finally got a UK release last October. He plays Truman Burbank, a vaguely unhappy insurance salesman in the perfect little seaside town of Seahaven. Following some strange occurrences, Truman starts to think that he is being watched. Little does he know that his entire life is secretly filmed, his town is a gigantic sound-stage, everyone he has ever known was an actor and that his every waking and sleeping second is broadcast around the world as a top-rated docu-soap.

Critics have been lavishing enormous praise on this movie since it opened in America last June, and probably rightly so because it is a superbly crafted piece of work. Weir's direction is outstanding, frequently viewing events from the point of view of hidden spy cameras, such as the one in Truman's car radio. One stunning shot has the town's main street full of motionless extras, waiting for Truman to turn the corner. Jim Carrey's performance has been singled out for particular praise, and though his acting is of a much higher standard that his usual comedy antics, it is not exactly Laurence Olivier. This said, an Oscar nomination would have been well deserved.

The setting of a chirpy small town from which escape is impossible echoes cult 60's series The Prisoner, but the balance of reality and poetry is much more restrained here than it was then. The opening credits are especially clever, using those of the actual `show' (e.g. Truman Burbank as Himself). There are, however, a few problems. The film is simply too short to adequately explore Truman's situation, and the character of Meryl, his `wife', disappears about half-an-hour from the end. This kind of slightly sloppy scripting was not something I expected from writer Andrew Niccol, whose previous film Gattaca, which he also directed, was such an immediate classic. Gripes aside, this is an extraordinary and highly original film that really is worth seeing several times to fully understand the director's message. It doesn't even matter if you never liked Jim Carrey before. You will now.
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10/10
Brilliant. One of the most interesting films of the last 10 years
hankhanks1234522 April 2007
"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.
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9/10
Very good!
wlay-8185213 September 2016
I've seen The Truman Show a multitude of times, and each time it gets better. First watching it at a young age (Roughly 10 years old), I never picked up on much of the deeper meaning behind the film. The idea of someone's whole life being a television program was simply entertaining. Now, as an older viewer and with more experience in analyzing books and movies, I can really pick up on the satirical meaning behind the plot. Truman plays the star of a 24/7 television program. His entire life is broadcasted for all the world to see. He is raised to believe that there is no real reason to try and leave his perfect "island". Throughout the film, we watch as Truman tries time and time again to discover the truth behind his life, and as he attempts to escape. The struggle he experiences while trying to break free from the artificial world can be seen as a satirical message. The world is trying to oppress you, and although difficult, you can escape. This is supported by a statement made by the creator of the Truman show. He said, "We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented. It's as simple as that". Several other hidden messages (Ideas) appear throughout the film. All the actors who play roles in Truman's life, are indeed fake. Despite directly lying to a person whose life is immediately affected by that lie, the actors/actresses show no emotion for Truman. This is comparable to the lack of care society has for the majority of its citizens. Overall, The Truman Show is filled with subliminal messages and hidden meanings, all of which can be directly tied back to daily life.
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camera lucida
bax-224 August 1999
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is the most famous man in the world, and he doesn't even know it. Raised entirely 'within' a television show which comprises his entire world, Truman is an Everyman for the post-television age. Truman's world, "Seahaven", is an Eisenhower-era model of American bliss, recalling the prison-like Port Meirion and the moral certainty of Bedford Falls (Its a Wonderful Life). Surreptitiously filmed around the clock by 5000 hidden cameras, the show exists inside an enormous geodesic dome with simulated weather and even its own ocean. Through a series of production blunders Truman slowly realises that he is being controlled and that perhaps all in his world is not as it seems. His surrogate father by proxy, 'Christof' the producer/director, goes from being benevolent social scientist to evil genius as his attempts to frustrate Truman's wanderlust become more and more deadly. Will he escape?

The film raises some interesting points about our fascination with life as seen through the magnifying lens of tv, and the morality of real lives viewed as so much entertainment. But like most soaps the scenes from "The Truman Show" that appear within the movie are variously dull, mawkish and sentimental. At points the film has a problem deciding on whether it is going to be a straight escape-chase movie or a philosophical piece about morality and technology. The t.v. show's inherent blandess also lends little to the pace or our sense that there are characters worth caring about.

Carrey is good. This in itself is gratifying, and a tribute to a script that walks the tightrope of imitating bad t.v. in tandem with the metaphysical angst of Truman's unique situation. If it isn't quite the film it could have been, The Truman Show is still pretty much unique in the recent crop from our cultural overlords in Hollywood. No arthouse here, this is a watchable, big-budget think piece, with well-executed and stylish direction. Its too early to say but this film may have given some execs at NBC, ABC et al. one very bad idea...
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10/10
Tru(man)ly remarkable!
moviemanMA3 July 2005
Have you ever thought you were being watched? Like you life was possibly a Television show? Well, Truman Burbank never did and this movie tells of how he found out his life was a TV show.

Quite possibly one of the most imaginative plots ever, Peter Weir's The Truman Show shows how one man's vision (Ed Harris) of having someone's life be on TV (that being Truman played by Jim Carey)...without him knowing it. A totally real show that has no boundaries except the walls of the enormous set. With actors playing the roles of the townspeople in this perfect community, as it seems.

Jim Carey is brilliant as the confused insurance salesman who just wants the truth about his life. The death of his "father" drowning at sea has given Truman a reason to stay in his town and not venture off. But the urge to see the woman of his dreams is all to much. She was moved to "Fiji" because of some problems. Laura Linney plays Truman's wife. She isn't only his wife but is a walking commercial. Whenever there is a product she brings home, it seems like she is telling the world how great it is. Noah Emmerich plays Truman's best friend Marlon. This always uplifting character brings comic relief for Truman when he needs it most. When Truman's world seems to be falling apart, he's there. When Truman just needs a friend, he's there. Marlon is the one part of his life that makes it seem so real when everything else seems so fake.

What makes this movie so enjoyable other than the story is how the people act in this "town". The way they make sure Truman stays there and doesn't leave. How everybody has a routine and even the weather is controlled. In the opening scene Truman wakes up and heads off to work to have a stage light fall right in the street. Where it came from?...he doesn't know. But doesn't worry about it because life is going great...for now. Ed Harris's character Cristof a.k.a. the Creator is genius and maniacal. With his people working around the clock to make sure all is well, this world he has created is now a world wide phenomenon. He is on top of the world with millions of people watching his creation unfold.

This sensational film about a man trying to find his way in the world is incredible. When everything seems like it doesn't add up, it just keeps getting more complicated and giving the viewer one hell of a good movie. The Truman Show is in a league of it's own.
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8/10
Very engaging even for non Jim Carrey fans
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.
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10/10
Great combination of social satire and philosophical allegory.
EThompsonUMD20 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Truman Show may be approached on one level as social satire exposing the emptiness of an American Dream defined by consumerism and purveyed by the electronic media over the last half century. Life in "Seahaven," the vast dome-enclosed set/community in which Truman (Jim Carrey) has been raised under the watchful eyes of a worldwide TV audience of millions, is a sharp and elaborate parody of the corporate sponsored images of middle-class American material bliss and innocence first introduced to mass television audiences through such '50s sitcoms as Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, and The Donna Reed Show. A closely related target of The Truman Show's satire is the pervasive voyeurism and passivity that has increasingly characterized American social behavior as witnessed in film (ED TV), entertainment television (tell-all talk shows, Reality TV, the talent search genre), and even broadcast news (disaster/victim footage).

Yet, on another level, The Truman Show, like Gattaca, The Matrix, Dark City and other more obvious examples of science fiction, deals with broad philosophical themes such as free will versus determinism in human action, subjective versus objective perceptions of reality, the assertion of humanness through existential rebellion, and the quest for an authentic self/ identity. Most immediately, the names and plot functions of the film's two principal characters - "Christof," the megalomaniacal producer/director of a 24/7 reality TV show, and "Truman," the show's eponymous everyman figure - invite the viewer to approach the work allegorically.

Legally adopted by a corporation (in a clever parallel to virgin birth), manipulated by the all-seeing all-powerful Christof (Ed Harris) into phony friendship and empty marriage with actor-minions, and psychologically conditioned (i.e. terrorized) into fearing adventure and change, Truman gradually begins to suspect that Seahaven is not the paradise it purports to be. To assert his humanity and escape his artificially prolonged state of childlike ignorance, Truman must ultimately undertake that most mythic of journeys, a Sea Voyage. At its end, he must turn his back on the secure, controlled environment of his "heavenly" father's house and step through a forbidding black passageway that leads to the true human condition: emotional and physical risk, scary freedom, and - perhaps - real love. In so doing, Truman ironically brings to his TV audience (whether they are still capable of appreciating it or not) the very affirmation that the false god of television claims they receive from the contrived "hope and uplift" pabulum the show has been ladling out for 30 years along with its subliminal primary diet of product placement advertisement.

In its climactic scenes, The Truman Show reveals Christof to be neither a social visionary nor a benevolent deity. Rather, we learn he has much in common with Orwell's Big Brother and - allegorically - with the implacable, sadistic god that Melville's Ahab imagines is running things behind the sky's impenetrable veil. By literally rending the heaven of his imprisoning universe, Truman navigates his storm-tossed sailing ship toward a completion of the heroic quest that Ahab's mad distraction (and Melville's theological uncertainty) forestalls: he momentarily frees himself and us from the diabolical/divine puller of the chains of human fate. In its final act, The Truman Show recasts the tragic despair of Moby Dick as comic triumph.
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9/10
True Best Picture of 1998
Shuh6 September 1999
Warning: Spoilers
A Solar eclipse occurs when a relatively small, dark, cold object comes between an observer and the brilliance of the sun. A Best Picture eclipse occurs when "Saved-By-The-Bell"-meets-"Amadeus" and "Saving Private Shmaltzy" comes between the movie-going-public and the brilliance of "The Truman Show."

Frankly, I don't know how this script got past the powers-that-be in Hollywood. It is a scathing indictment of the media. My only guess is that they saw the word "comedy" and "Jim Carrey" and decided not to look at it too hard. And judging from some of the comments here, it went over the heads of a pretty good slice of the viewing public as well. This story is a modern-day fable -- for those with the eyes to see.

If you are watching this to be entertained by Jim Carrey or to see a great sci-fi flick, you will be disappointed. If you are watching this to see the most elegant satire ever to grace the silver screen (maybe ever), then this movie is for you.

I will have this one on DVD. 9/10 ---
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10/10
Oh, and in case I don't see ya…
itamarscomix30 March 2006
With its (all intentional of course) cheerfully colorful cinematography, cheesy music and one-dimensional supporting characters, it's easy to miss just how brilliant The Truman Show is; it's in fact one of the most important cinematic creations of the 1990's, at least as important as darker films like American History X and Fight Club, and one that works on several different levels. Because while it works quite clearly as a sarcastic satire and a commentary on the destructive and intrusive nature of the media in the post-modern age, in the light of the reality TV syndrome which was at the time just starting to grow, it's also a philosophical metaphor about the state of mankind.

For Truman's story is man's story; and it's difficult not to see the importance in the names given to the lead characters. True Man's life, the film says, is an illusion, a lie. Or perhaps – all our lives are illusions, but the True Man is the one who figures it out and seeks a deeper truth. In its essence the point is very similar to the one The Matrix made; The Truman Show is a fascinating trip through Plato's Cave, and while it takes a rather simplistic look at Plato's philosophy – because any other way would be impossible in a film of less than two hours – it doesn't dumb it down. The Truman Show is a deep and intricate film that deserves repeated viewing and gets better with time, and can be discussed for hours.

Writer Andrew Niccol – who made his breakthrough debut one year before with the critically acclaimed cult favorite Gattaca – lost the Oscar that year to the Academy's favorite Shakespeare In Love, and director Peter Weir got most of the credit for the film; but while it's certainly an important achievement for Weir and the best film of his long career, it's Niccol's sarcastic, intelligent, innovative script that made The Truman Show great; that, and the amazing performance by Jim Carrey, who showed his fantastic dramatic skills here for the first time. Carrey is enchanting in the lead role as the ultimate everyman Truman, and we're as fascinated with him as the show's fans in the film. Praise should also go to Ed Harris, who plays Christof, creator and director of The Truman Show (and again, special attention should be given to the character's name) – and also to Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natasha McElhone, Harry Shearer, Peter Krause, Paul Giamatti and the rest of the wonderful supporting cast, both in Truman's world of Seahavan and in Christof's 'real' world. Finally, a word of praise for the excellent musical score, composed by Burkhard von Dallwitz and the great Philip Glass, which compliments the film's atmosphere to perfection.

The Truman Show is not an easy movie to absorb; it's a disturbing tale and a disturbing message, which takes some time to seep in, and while it's entirely unconvincing as a reality and even as sci-fi, and feels more like a metaphor than a story of a specific man, it's also entirely involving and demands to be taken at face value. Truman's character is irresistibly charming, and just like the people watching The Truman Show, we believe in him and identify with him completely. The beauty of The Truman Show is that it's lots of fun; it proves that entertainment and art are not necessarily opposing ideals. By being entirely entertaining and gripping, it gets its messages across a whole lot better.

The Truman Show is now eight years old: the way I see it, once a decade has passed, a film can begins to be considered a classic. The Truman Show will pass that test. In any possible aspect, The Truman Show is one of the absolute best films of the 90's, and one that will remain relevant long after reality TV has bitten the dust.
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10/10
a movie so unique one wonders how it got made.
triple814 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:

Truman Show is without a doubt Carey's best work. I did not have the pleasure of seeing this until this year, where after seeing Bruce Almighty and becoming somewhat of a Jim Carey fan, I made an effort to watch more of his movies. Truman Show is an instant classic in all the right ways, it's a smart, well acted, somewhat eerie, and utterly unique masterpiece. It also gets better the more you watch it.

I don't happen to like the genre of science fiction and nobody could deny Truman Show's got a bit of sci fi but I don't think it really falls under any one genre. What's really scary is the idea-this concept-is not so out there anymore, in today's times, that one could completely rule out that this could ever happen. It's creepy, very much so, in the way that The Original Stepford Wives is but more so in a way, and I wonder about what would be said about the movie had it been released currently, instead of the late 90's when reality TV was just starting to cause a ripple.

I first started changing my thoughts on Carey after Bruce Almighty, a great movie (and one that is a lot more thought provoking then many give it credit for.) But as good as he was in that, he simply shines in Truman, everyone does, I loved Laura Linney as Truman's annoying, cold on screen wife Meryl. I've seen many of Linney's movies, this is one of her best.

I'd advise people who haven't seen Truman Show to see it more then once-the first time I saw it, I thought it was about an 8 or 9, it grows on you and it's the kind of movie you want to see again as soon as it ends. There are a few frustrating things to be sure, I wish it had not ended so ambiguously, I'd have liked to see more of Truman's life after leaving the set, his relationship with Sylvia and what the other characters were feeling gone into a bit more. Also the audience. Was Truman an instant celebrity when he left or was he quickly forgotten in favor of the next flavor of the month by his devoted audience as is a bit inferred? Truman Show, unlike about 95 percent of movies made, does seem like a sequel could be made, although with how bad most sequels are I'd be a bit wary. Still, any flaws are not enough to prevent a 10 of 10 rating from me, you could be watching this movie for the 50th time and it still seems like it would inspire the same reaction.
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10/10
very good
tobyholbrook0113 December 2012
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.
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8/10
The Truman Show — Exposing reality TV, and giving a sweet tale to make you think
Avid Climber11 January 2013
The Truman Show is a tale that will tug at your heart strings. It's the movie that showed the world that Jim Carrey could play drama. His wild gesticulating or face distortion barely make an appearance compared to his previous incarnations.

The film feels a little tacky, but it's dealing with a tacky subject: reality TV. It rode the wave of its inception as well as initial popularity and at the same time as it was making fun of it. Each character, but the main one, is a caricature of reality TV and its entourage, even its dissidents. It feels as fake as its subject, yet it brings important points. Is happy ignorance better than truth? Do you define yourself, or does your environment?

The sweetness of it all will capture you. Truman's predicament will rivet you. The last scene will move you.

See it, it's worth it.
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10/10
"It's Live! It's Live!"...
ElMaruecan8228 May 2011
Warning: 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 …
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