Masterpiece Cinema - The Truman Show
The Truman Show Starring Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed
Written by Andrew Niccol
Directed by Peter Weir
Genre: Drama / Comedy
Released: 1998Running time: 103 minsRated: PG (American rating thematic
elements and mild language)
IMDb link: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0120382/
I remember walking out of the cinema seven years ago with a very confused crowd
"That wasn't funny." One of them said with bitter disappointment. And that
seemed to be the shared sentiment of everyone there. Nobody knew what the hell
they had just seen.
The movie was, of course, The Truman Show, and it was the first time Jim Carrey
had ever tried something outside of his usual broadly comic shtick. Marketed as
if it was an out-and-out comedy, people went in expecting to see something they
were simply not going to get, and of course many were disappointed by that.
In case you've never seen it, here's the rundown; Truman Burbank lives an
idyllic life in a small coastal community. He has a job as an insurance
salesman, is happily married and owns a beautiful home. But Truman just can't
shake the feeling that something is wrong with everything, and it's not long
before he starts to piece together the fact that he's the unwitting star of a
24 hour reality TV show, and everyone in his life is in on it.
Probably the most amazing thing about The Truman Show is how prophetic it was.
Released before the reality television craze that was started by Survivor, The
Truman Show seemed almost like science fiction at the time (probably another
reason why audiences struggled with accepting it). I can quite vividly remember
the chill I felt when I first heard about Big Brother, the surveillance-based
reality TV show, and how it felt like one more daunting step towards the
realization of an actual Truman Show.
But setting aside how amazingly predictive The Truman Show was, it's still an
amazing film in and of itself. Though it's certainly not funny in the way
audiences had come to expect Jim Carrey films to be funny, it's a bitingly clever
satire with many amusing moments. These moments are tempered, however, with
some truly moving moments of pathos and eventual triumph. The film's climactic
sequence is quite a breath-taking one, and never fails to emotionally capture
Maybe you saw The Truman Show back in 1998 and didn't know what to make of it.
Maybe you've never seen it. Whatever the case, I urge you to go back and take
another look at it. You may very well be pleasantly surprised.