Jim Carrey plays the good hearted, insurance salesman Truman Burbank in a fictitious and meticulously planned world of Seahaven (notice the significance of the name as the plot continues). The audience see Truman’s life unfold through carefully placed cameras everywhere in his environment, which broadcasts on The Truman Show live, non-stop around the world.
Truman’s life long dream of traveling outside of Seahaven becomes constantly repressed by other characters who must keep the truth from Truman so the show can go on. The film keeps a basic theme of an ideal environment being ultimately rejected because the human spirit and imagination reaches beyond a utopia’s limits. Truman’s spirit and yearning to explore becomes so strong, he would die for the chance to see the world beyond his home.
The establishing scenes begin a deliberately slow, intimate plot and lay the ground work for the setting of the movie to play a major role in the film. This exclusive setting was actually filmed in a town in Florida and represents Truman’s sole environment.
The supporting cast play familiar roles, but add heartfelt touches into the characters that all branch off Truman’s natural, special charisma. Laura Linney plays Meryl who eventually becomes Truman’s wife while Natascha McElhone plays Lauren, the girl who always seems to be around, but Truman never gets to connect with here the way he wants to. Noah Emmerich plays Truman’s best friend Marlon who listens to Truman’s lifelong dreams as Truman mirrors Marlon’s desire to expand his life. Meryl and Marlon try to convince Truman about certain aspects of his life, but Lauren makes the best connection.
An excellent plot follows Truman’s life with explanatory flashbacks then picks up with Christof, played by Ed Harris, the Truman Show’s creator. Harris superbly plays Christof with a God-like voice and words especially when he reveals the show to Truman from the manufactured sky in a booming voice, “I am the creator (well placed pause)…of a television show…” Christof begins introducing the show to the audience with the phrase “no scripts, no cue cards…it isn’t always Shakespeare, but it’s genuine…it’s a life.”
Carrey, the protagonist, or hero, doesn’t let conveniently placed impediments and deter him from his path to venture beyond Seahaven. Harris plays the antagonist, but the “creative powers” of the show create the real struggle for Truman and the motivation for Christof.
Director Peter Weir uses great visual creativity with the hidden cameras to capture Truman’s essence and the will to venture out on his own. Weir uses amazing point-of-view shots and well placed reaction shots from the TV audience to keep the plot and Truman’s quest in context.
The ending of the Truman show sticks with you and carries a great theme of the power of the human spirit. A film that carries great emotion while intelligently engaging the audience with a concept everyone can relate to – living a happy life without boundaries or deceit. Recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated PG.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler