Monday, September 10, 2012

The Truman Show: Review

Assignment #5

Review of The Truman Show

At first glance, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey, seems to be a poignant take on the (then recent) surge of popularity of reality television. This is only helped by Jim Carrey's comedic acting, characterized by his trademark expressiveness and loud dialogue. However, there is much to be found within this seeming parody of poor television, most notably a single question: would you be content with a sheltered life if you knew that a more dangerous, but free life existed? I believe The Truman Show argues for freedom, despite the dangers that freedom brings. This theme can be observed in the near final scene of the movie, where Christof, the creator of the show, tries to talk Truman out of leaving the set, stating that the world outside of the set is cruel and unforgiving, while the world Truman's escaping is kind and fair. Truman leaves the set, never looking back once.

I feel, as a reviewer, that The Truman Show is completely correct. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt; that couldn't be more right in the case of Truman, who eventually succeeds in breaking out of his prison. The sheltered life simply doesn't offer enough excitement for me, and if I had the knowledge of a more fulfilling, yet dangerous life, I would take the opportunity without hesitation.

The Truman Show is about a seemingly ordinary man living an unremarkable life. Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey, has an attractive wife, a car, a mortgage, and a job as an insurance salesman. Truman lives in the neatly manicured and idyllic Seahaven, an amalgam of east-coast architecture and 50's era living. What Truman doesn't know, however, is that he's the unwitting star of a TV show watched by millions, and that the town he lives in is a movie set so large that it is visible from space. Everyone he knows is an actor, and has been since the day he was born. What's interesting about the plot of The Truman Show is the many ways the viewer can interpret it.

A notable quote from the movie is from the character Christof. "We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented." This is an interesting line, as it makes the inherent nature of the movie The Truman Show visible, and as a viewer, raises many questions. Should we accept things at face value without question? Is complacency really preferable to truth? This helps the movie stand out from various other comedy flicks, as it presents the viewer with a myriad of philosophical questions.

The Truman Show is a fine example of how a comedy movie can both make you laugh and think at the same time. The question it poses is also very thought provoking, and not easy to answer. As for me, I wouldn't willingly languish in a prison that I've lived in from birth, even if the prison is safer/less deceitful. What about you, gentle reader? Would you trade your freedom for complacency?

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