Revisiting the Jim Carrey Classic, The Truman Show

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Revisiting the Jim Carrey Classic

Have you had that random wave of self-doubt where you question your entire existence on social media? When the nagging thought of screen time is a little too loud? When you realize that you know way too much about someone else’s life? Why you are dedicating so much of your time on reality show inspired content when you could have been reading The Movie Culture articles? Well, I have had those waves far too often. 

Social media has taken over such a large chunk of our lives that once you are in, it is almost impossible to get off it. It is why people take small detox breaks and end up coming back to it. It is a way to not only share what is happening in your life but also always be up to date with whatever is happening in the lives of others. Close friends or even content creators, social media has increased our need to know everything about each other. With pages like DeuxMoi on Instagram, celebrities to are under the watch every minute. It is the time when we are all under the supervision of some unknown. Thrilling, isn’t it?

Imagine, a whole community of people having access to every second of your day and looking at you go through life. They have opinions and demands and companies are using your life to advertise themselves. Imagine yourself as a commodity, a means to someone else’s entertainment. Weird, isn’t it? 

We all know that Google tracks everything and it is possible that all are conversations are being heard but let’s be fair, this monitoring is more to make us spend money than to entertain thousands of people. It is interesting to think that even though it is not happening, there are people with enough resources to make the lives of common folk into a show for their entertainment. Almost similar to puppets. 

This scary, extremely real and ironically entertaining idea was portrayed in the 1998 film called The Truman Show. Directed by Peter Weir and starring Jim Carrey, the film is literally about this one man, Truman Burbank whose entire life is aired to the general public as a show called The Truman Show. The people he lives with and interacts with are hired actors. Being adopted, the family he has grown up with is a lie that he has been fed. 

The Unique Plot of The Truman Show

Hired by a corporate entity, Truman was taken into a huge set that was structured to look like a small town, complete with schools, grocery stores and everything else you see on a day to day basis. The friends he made and the girls he liked, were paid. They were given scripts, taught improv and other companies even paid for products to be advertised throughout his life. A person would randomly start describing a product to him and that would be aired to everyone in a form of an advertisement because there weren’t any ad breaks till the time Truman slept. 

If they could have, it is possible that the company would have shown his dreams as well. The story in the movie truly begins when things start going haywire in Truman’s life after he directly interacts with a non-paid person who enters the set. It is about how he finds out that he has been living a staged and pre-determined life. He realizes he is not living for himself but for every single viewer out there. To say he was shocked or troubled is not in my hand but I am sure those were two of the many things that Truman was feeling. 

Jim Carrey’s Masterpiece of a Performance in The Truman Show

Jim Carrey gave such a stellar performance as a broken and confused but determined man. There was a drive to leave and it may have come from a place of knowing how it feels to be under the watchful eyes of the world. Even a story as powerful as this didn’t curb the attention that Carrey’s performance demands. Starring along with him was Laura Linney and Ed Harris who each brought so much conviction to their characters that in the two hours of the movie, the cast of the characters felt like people around you. They made you want to question people you meet because who doesn’t like feeling like the main character. 

From everything mentioned, you can see the importance of the set in this movie. Production designer, Dennis Gassner made Truman’s world look so real that the entire perfection of it gave the audience the uneasy feeling they are supposed to get. The arrangement of the tiny products was perfect so as to remind the audience that everything was planned and is fake. There is no element in the movie that is not thought out to a detail that truly helped drive the point of the film. 

Why is The Truman Show a Classic and a Masterpiece?

The movie will always remain a classic because the audience is both Truman and his viewers. Take for example the one family that will always be on top of media news; the Kardashians and Jenners. They grew up in front of the television. They are the closest to Truman. Their opinions, lifestyle, relationships and everything else are available to the public to critique. They may have got wealth and fame out of this arrangement but after watching this movie, I would ask if it was worth it. We are their viewers in this case. People who judge their fame are also the people who watched them enough to hand them their status. 

How are we Trumans? It doesn’t matter if we are active on social media or not. The film is also about how Truman was constantly watched by the actors so that they could anticipate his next move. Truman had to keep them engaged. Truman had a large audience to keep them hooked as well as the “people” in his life with him. He had lost many people who he didn’t know were fired or removed from his story. For him, they left his life because of something he did. Haven’t we all blamed ourselves for someone else leaving us? Haven’t we taken the responsibility for someone else’s actions? Humans are made to please people. We want to be in a society and so we try our best to make people like us. Maybe this is why social media blew up. Even if 2 people are interested in our life then we aren’t doing so bad. We post every moment of our lives hoping that it matters. Truman was doing the same but his actions are louder. We all watch others and we are all viewed by others. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

If nothing else, everyone should watch this movie at least once because it is great food for thought regarding matters of self-identity, reality and media portrayals. On top of that, it is a great cinematic experience in terms of cast performance, production design and distinct thought. The Truman Show is available on Amazon Prime Video