By Hannah Sexton, Copy Editor
“The Truman Show” takes an impossible, absurd idea that makes the viewer question their own reality. The movie is about a television show called “The Truman Show” that broadcasts 24/7 and depicts every moment of the life of a man named Truman Burbank. He lives in the fictional town of Seahaven Island and conducts his day to day business, without a clue that he is always on camera or that the entire town he lives in is actually a set. However, he starts to notice odd events in his life that eventually allow him to piece together the fact that his reality is, well, not real.
In the perfect town of Seahaven Island, the weather is great, the people friendly, and almost everyone seems to know Truman by name. Furthermore, Truman has almost all his needs and wants provided for. However, the setting is too perfect and Truman’s real desires are left unfulfilled. The movie makes clear that he’s wanted to be an explorer for most of his life, but cannot go out and travel because he has to remain on the island, with certain circumstances always preventing him from seeing the world. So, he may appear to live a great and stress-free life but it is all a lie.
One of the best ways the movie engages viewers is by contrasting Truman’s experience with what the audience sees. We see many shots of Truman enjoying his day to day life as if we were another person on the set watching someone go by. Then, we can also see through the hidden cameras the angles and reaction shots people would not be able to see in real life. It contrasts with Truman’s innocent character, one that is intentionally relatable to the audience of the fictional universe and the viewer of the movie.
Even when strange things start happening, such as what is clearly a studio light falling out of the “sky” randomly, Truman takes most of it in stride. It is terrifying to think that something like an entire TV show could be filmed without someone having the slightest idea, and that it could go on for 30 years.
On the surface the movie tries its best to be bright, cheery, and happy, just like “The Truman Show” would make itself to be to its audience. It does a good job of preventing everyone from seeing the truth; Truman is a slave to a corporation that is imprisoning him on a set. Even Truman himself does not seem to sense the gravity of the situation when he does escape.
It’s a movie that gets more horrifying the more you think about it. Truman is so dedicated to knowing the truth that he is willing to be killed instead of living another second in his fake world. He is clearly under a lot of mental stress during the scenes showing his breakdown, and actor Jim Carrey plays the part perfectly.
Throughout the movie we see the fictional audience watching the show and their reactions to Truman’s thoughts and actions. Even more horrifying, after Truman makes his big break and exits the television set, most of the viewers don’t care about the new reality Truman will be in. One of a pair of security guards watching asks, “What else is on?” People don’t really care about Truman or the horror he was subjected to, only what else to watch.
While “The Truman Show” is labeled as a psychological comedy-drama, the comedy far outweighs the terror of the movie. There are funny parts but as a whole it is deeply unsettling to watch and think about, and that’s what makes it great.