After watching Lars and the Real Girl last night, I ended up also watching The Truman Show (talk about overkill on movie-watching).
The Truman Show is about a fictitious 24-hour reality television program revolving around Burbank Truman (Jim Carrey). Truman doesn’t realize that he is living in a false world; it is a constructed reality in a dome, which only consists of the one city Seahaven. Truman had been adopted by the corporation for the soul purpose of growing up in this dome community, and show creator Christof (Ed Harris) wants to ensure, at all costs, that Truman and his progeny continue to live in the dome.
Expectation played a big role in how I received this movie. Many times I’ve watched a movie after hearing many good things about it. This sets my expectation, which can result in the movie not being able to deliver. It isn’t necessarily a bad movie, and the acting may also not be bad, but I just come out thinking “that was good, but time has just passed.” That’s unfortunately kind of what happened with the Truman Show. I was really excited coming in. The plot seemed original, the acting I heard was good (I mean Carrey won a Golden Globe for his performance and Ed Harris was nominated for an Academy Award). But, I didn’t enjoy the experience of watching it as much as I enjoyed watching Lars and the Real Girl.
The movie was slow at times, especially in the beginning when Truman was just getting suspicious of the fact that his reality was fake, as was everyone else in his life. None of the acting seemed entirely believable, which I guess in a weird way makes sense since they were supposed to be actors, acting in a television program, and television acting isn’t always (this is not an absolute statement, there is television acting that is absolutely brilliant) totally believable. Jim Carrey’s dramatic acting was a bit…exaggerated. I love Jim Carrey, and I really enjoyed the Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, but some of the emotions here were…too much. I guess one could argue that it was a by-product of living in a world of absolute simplicity, with no crime and with everyone essentially being kind to Truman.
The only character that really made me buy in was Christof (Harris). He really played the “God” role very well; he took in Truman, and watched over him, and raised him, dictating every event and choice of Truman’s life. This was the thing that was the most horrific part of this movie; Truman, in every context, was not living his life. Every choice in his life was predetermined by Christof: who he would marry, that his dad would die in a seas storm (so that Truman would never have a desire to leave Seahaven, as he would be scared of the water). It was disturbing that the whole world just watched this man, who didn’t know he was being watched the entire time; the entire world was a lie, except Sylvia.
My favorite quote from that movie was from Christof “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.” I can’t help but feel that is true for so many of us. I know I very much accept my reality as it is presented to me. And by reality, I also just mean the status quo. It takes a lot of bravery and a strong desire for change to stand up, and go against the flow of everyday life. But for some, like Truman, it really is the most rewarding experience to challenge the way things have been.
The Truman Show had some really good themes and symbolism, and for that I really appreciated its artistic value. But as a viewing experience, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I had expected.