Release Date: June 5th, 1998
Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Andrew Niccol
As I’m writing this, I just started watching this. I haven’t seen it in years. Actually, let me check my records. Wow. I haven’t watched this movie at all since I started tracking my movie watching habits in 2007! How is that possible? My records from 2009 are incomplete, though, so I’ll go ahead and say I haven’t watched this Jim Carrey classic since 2009.
If you somehow missed The Truman Show, you owe it to yourself to check it out on Netflix. I saw it in the theater with my mom and two of my friends for my 12th birthday. I have a very clear memory of seeing it. It was at the United Artists theater I eventually (briefly) worked in while I was in high school. I vividly remember leaving the theater and gazing at the sky, wondering if I was unknowingly the subject of a 24/7 reality television series. It’s a bit of a narcissistic notion, but I’m willing to bet a good many of the people who watch this movie wonder the same damn thing.
That’s part of the beauty of The Truman Show. Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a man who’s completely oblivious to the fact that his entire life is being broadcast for a world full of loyal viewers. Released in 1998, The Truman Show is an eerie precursor to the current crop of reality television trash that we have to wade through to find quality programming in our own lives.
But as a concept, The Truman Show is a far more fascinating concept and study of humanity than any of the filth that networks misleading dub as “Unscripted.” The Truman Show is equal parts light-hearted comedy, heartbreaking drama, heartwarming romance and, oddly enough, a utopian cautionary tale.
Calling into question the moral compass of Ed Harris’ godlike “Christof” character provides a deep undercurrent of drama to a tightly-woven, high concept movie. Taking into consideration that, at the time, Jim Carrey was exclusively a comedic actor, this movie really showed how he can stretch his dramatic muscles.
The Truman Show was the first real display of dramatic fare from Jim Carrey. It’s success led to more dramatic turns such as Man on the Moon, The Majestic and (a personal favorite of mine) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
I could go on and on about what The Truman Show means to me. From the fascinating drama to the hilarious comedy, this is a movie densely packed with material that has the power to make you laugh, move you and, hopefully, make you question your personal boundaries when it comes to entertainment.