The Meaning of the Truman Show
If you are starting to revise the film I have found an interesting site for you to look at. Here is a taste:
In the brilliantly-conceived (and imperfectly executed) satire, ‘The Truman Show’, it shows us a character who also challenges – and ultimately escapes from – a contrived world that is an invention of media.The film has this message: we will have to stand up to the manipulators of television and news if we want to protect ourselves from the absurdity and falsehood that now surrounds us at every turn.
As most people know by now, The Truman Show conveys this message by depicting a series of fateful events in the life of Truman Burbank, (played by Jim Carrey) who has grown up, and lives, in a fake town full of actors. The town is enclosed in a giant dome decked out with high-tech simulations of sun and sky, in which the rain and wind are courtesy of the special effects department. Truman alone has no idea he is in a giant TV studio, as the rest of humanity watches him go from one staged situation to another in a nonstop telethon
of reality programming that lets audiences enjoy a little pathos and vicarious emotion.
But into this ersatz paradise, there inevitably appears a snake. After the crew makes mistakes that cause the seamlessness of the illusion to break down, Truman figures out that his surroundings are full of staged scenes and events. He then tries to make his escape, only to come up against both his own fears, which keep him from leaving, and the obstacles put in his way by the producer-director who has made billions trapping him in a stage set and playing God with his life.
Thus does the movie offer us a metaphor for our own situation. The fake landscape Truman lives in is our own media landscape in which news, politics, advertising and public affairs are increasingly made up of theatrical illusions. Like our media landscape, it is convincing in its realism, with lifelike simulations and story lines, from the high-tech facsimile of a sun that benevolently beams down on Truman to the mock sincerity of the actor he mistakenly believes is his best friend. It is also rewarding and masquerades as something benevolent. And it is seamless – there are almost no flaws that give away the illusion – at least until things start to go wrong.