The Truman Show


Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi

Director: Peter Weir

I watched “The Truman Show” yesterday, nearly a decade after its release date. The movie obviously has some crucial messages. On the surface, it is really funny movie and deals with issues of life and the media.

Truman (Jim Carrey), the hero, lives with actors, people around him including his parents, wife and best friend, in an artificial world unaware of this mechanism. He is monitored by 5000 cameras and broadcast live 24 hours a day to, so to speak, peeper and curious audience. Truman was born and raised under cameras (“He was born in front of a live audience” as Christof says).

Truman is cheated and deprived of his ability to make choices by the “serial” director, Christof. The director manipulates and controls Truman as the God of him and the movie. Everybody including members of Christof’s team responsible for technical issues obey him blindly. His actions peculiar to God are depicted in the movie successfully in response to the protest of Sylvia: “I have given Truman the chance to lead a normal life. The world, the place you live in, is the sick place.” But he gets out of tight corner in a familiar method by saying “If he (Truman) was more than just a vague ambition, if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there’s no way we could prevent him”. There emerges a dilemma that Dr. Sam Vaknin perfectly explains:
“It all boils down to the question of free choice and free will versus the benevolent determinism imposed by an omniscient and omnipotent being. What is better: to have the choice and be damned (almost inevitably) – or to succumb to the superior wisdom of a supreme being? This choice always involves a dilemma. It is the conflict between two equivalent states, two weighty decisions whose outcomes are equally desirable and two identically-preferable courses of action. Where there is no such equivalence – there is no choice, merely the pre-ordained (given full knowledge) exercise of a preference or inclination.”

Bees do not choose to make honey. A student does not choose to study. He may be a hardworking or a lazy one. To be more precise, he is motivated by a clear inequity between the choices that he faces. He can study or go to the cinema. His decision is clear and predetermined by his preference; and by the inevitable and invariable implementation. There is profoundly no choice here. However Truman did not ask or choose to be put in his position. There was no consent or act of choice involved…

Network Executive:[hunging up a phone call] The sponsors are threatening to rip up their contracts!
Christof: [pointing at the “Technical fault… Please stand by… ” graphic] Why? We’re getting higher ratings for this graphic than we’ve ever had on this show. (IMDB)

And, of course, the criticism on capitalism by showing monstrosity of billionaires and clashing media that exploit Truman’s life is another issue.