The Truman Show
I had previously stated in my God Bless America review that America has an obsession with celebrity and reality television. Now what I want to talk about is my own experience with reality television shows. Most of these shows like Survivor and Big Brother had started in the early 2000’s, when I was going to middle school. Much of the stuff on MTV was the talk of the quad during the lunch break. I would hear girls refer to some show about a skater or some teachers talk about how their favorite citizen may be eliminated in the next Amazing Race episode.
I think that most people started to tune in to reality television because of the impact of September eleventh. America was changed forever in many ways, and I think that after millions of people becoming a witness to two planes crashing into the World Trade Center, people were now aware that television is not afraid to screen something so dark and gritty. The people were now hungry to see programs as real as possible, but most of that would be found on the news. As major networks realized the potential, they began a new era of cost effective programs that would allow people to see real people in real environments (even if it was likely to all be a lie). The Truman Show was the movie that predicted all of this.
Truman Burbank (played by Jim Carrey) has gone through his entire life, unaware that everything is being recorded and broadcast, twenty-four hours, seven days a week, ever since before he was born. His entire town of Seahaven, is a giant set built under a dome, which is populated with hundreds of actors, each playing a citizen, whether their a close friend or even a bum on the street. It’s all a contributor to Truman’s delusion that life is normal.
It just so happens that now is the time that Truman starts to realize that his life revolves around him more so then ever. He begins to see signs that things are out of place such as his car radio picking up a conversation between the crew and that his wife Meryl (played by Laura Linney). He becomes paranoid and becomes determined to leave, despite an attempt from executive producer Christof (played by Ed Harris) to add to the illusion by giving Truman a fear of leaving and always airing content in the town’s television about how good it is to stay at home.
I have to say with out a doubt that The Truman Show is one of my favorite movies. It is more then a nice story with a good balance of comedy and drama. This movie addresses all of our fears that life revolves around us. I can say that I’ve had my thoughts about how my family and friends just seem to be contributors to my personality and lifestyle. We can count ourselves as roles of the live around the people we know.
I really wished that Jim Carrey were used for more dramas. He can play the everyman on the same levels of guys like Tom Hanks and Jimmy Stewart. When you can get past his overacting comedy attitude is actually a guy with an ability to pull off a performance that will make you laugh and cry. The Truman Show also addresses that not only are audience contributors to reality shows, but they are contributors back to the audience. By showing that the entire world is watching Truman, it clearly addresses the fact that this man is controlling their lives, by living their lives through Truman. They all want to be him, yet Truman wants to be someone else. Brilliant.
I’ll give this five stairways to the EXIT out of five. The Truman Show is the best movie about television around. Yes, even better then Network or A Face in The Crowd. This movie clearly predicted that reality television would become the dominant genre of television.