The Truman Show

The Truman Show came out before the reality TV craze really set in, so its prescience is commendable and chilling.

Truman Burbank (Jim Carey) is a man who’s been filmed since birth, and for 30 years, the world has watched him round the clock. The only person who doesn’t know that tumblr_nqc9v5ofZH1skrvpzo1_500.gifTruman’s a big, big star is Truman himself, who believes himself to be living a normal life. An entire town has been hired and created to convince him of this, but everyone’s in on it, everyone’s an actor with their own motives and agendas. When Truman does begin to catch on to the ruse, no one is more keen to stop his leaving than his director of 30 years, Christoff (Ed Harris).

When Sisken and Ebert reviewed The Truman Show, they gave it an enthusiastic two-thumbs-up, but also gave an unprecedented on-air apology to Jim Carrey for having said that he would never have a career when they hate-reviewed Ace Ventura: Pet Detective just a few years earlier.


The Truman Show wasn’t just a hit at the box office, it became a cultural phenomenon. In 2008, Popular Mechanics declared it one of the 10 most prophetic science fiction films ever. Big Brother debuted just a year after The Truman Show hit theatres, and the popularity of other shows like it probably predict the downfall of  humanity, but the fact that so many people flocked to the movies to see that same thing satirized has to be a good sign, right?

The Truman Show is studied in lots of Media Ethics courses. Of course they look at Truman’s creator, Christoff, the director who stalked unwanted pregnancies and eventually trapped an unwitting human in a very big but very fake bubble. But they also look at Marlon, Truman’s best friend, and Meryl, his wife. These of course are simply actors playing a part – Meryl (Laura Linney) basically prostitutes herself for the role and is willing to bear Truman’s child, who will be a star of a spin-off.

Even more interestingly, psychologists are reporting real people experiencing the “Truman Syndrome” or the “Truman Show Delusion”, basically people believing they are the unwilling stars of their own reality TV shows. Some people may be happy about this fake fame, others tormented. But they believe cameras are secretly following and filming them around the clock. One such person traveled to NYC after 9\11 to check that the towers had indeed fallen; this person believed that it was perhaps just an elaborate plot twist in his personal storyline. Another such person climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty believing his long-lost high school girlfriend would meet him there, and he’d finally be released from the show.

I’m betting\hoping The Truman Show was a little less life-altering for you than it was for some of these poor people, but doesn’t that just go to show the effect the media can have on our lives?







3 thoughts on “The Truman Show

  1. tubularsock

    Jay, Tubularsock would not conclude so quickly that we are all not living our own lives in a Trumanesque world.

    Tubularsock would recommend looking at this with your eyes wide open.

    Every morning you wake up and pretty much do the same routine that describes your “life”. And you look out your window and you see neighbor Jim wiping off his windshield at 8:15 and leaving for work at 8:20, damn near being able to set your clock to it.

    Oh yeah, time. Doesn’t exist! All time is is an agreement. WE agree, sure nobody asked you really, that these number represent some sort of measurement that we follow. And nothing shows this better than “Daylight Savings Time”! One day 3 AM is 3 AM the NEXT DAY it is 4 AM or 2 AM depending on agreement. Sure it exists, NOT!

    Ask yourself, what is time if we can change it by agreement? A social contract?

    And “money” ……. social contract built on faith. Maybe that is why so many people today “believe” in “money”! Amen.

    If you really look at your daily “life” and your movements within your daily “life” you really don’t move from your house much farther than Truman. REALLY.

    Take a map of where you live and put a dot on your house, apartment, or underpass where you “live”.

    Now draw concentric circles out from the dot.

    Just how far from YOUR DOT do you move each day? Tubularsock would venture to say not very far. Oh sure, MAYBE on the “WEEKEND” another agreement you may go a bit farther but Tubularsock suspects not.

    And then the NEWS ……. from watching “the news” what does that tell you about anything “real”. All you get is controlled thought. And you come out “THINKING” you are informed! So did Truman!

    And the very scary part is that the FEAR that is produced by the “DIRECTORS” keep everybody in line. As it did Truman.

    So, for Tubularsock the Truman Show IS REALITY ……… fucking wake up, open that door and face the unknown!

    And oh, be sure to watch for fingers being crossed …….

    Thanks Jay, Tubularsock loved that film!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Canada 150 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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