Reality TV Before It’s Heyday By Tyrone C.
The Truman Show
Peter Weir Scott
Rudin Productions (1998)
Jim Carrey is one of my favorite actors and comedians and this is the first film I ever saw him in in which I did a double-take at his range as an actor. He truly shines in this amazing and creative film.
The Truman Show is a satirical comedy-drama that revolves around Truman Burbank (Carrey), a man who has lived his entire life being filmed as part of a monumental reality television show that captures every single second of his life, though he is clueless to this. The director of the film is Peter Weir, who I had not heard much about prior to viewing the film, but upon looking at his filmography, I see that he was involved in the making of the Dead Poets Society, an amazing film in itself.While watching the Behind the Scenes, I noticed Weir taking control on the set and really encouraging Carrey and the other actors/actresses to step up their game. He was like a really good coach. Upon seeing more interviews, I saw that many were not in favor of Carrey being the lead actor as a result of him being identified as a comedian and not a true actor. Weir, however, had faith in Carrey, so it’s clear to see him seemingly cheering Carrey on during the filming. In this film, you should expect a lovely progression. Slowly, Truman realizes that the world around him isn’t exactly what it seems, but the tremendous “cast” are guided via a headset and convince Burbank that nothing is unusual.
Moving on to the ability of the actors, I really enjoyed the element of it being a film within a film. In the film, the actors are acting for Truman, if that makes sense. His wife is a completely different woman that was set up by Christof, the creator of The Truman Show (in the film, not of the film) to be part of Truman’s life. Laura Linney, the wife, is playing Hannah Gill playing Meryl Burbank. Truman’s best friend is also an actor within an acting gig as Noah Emmerich plays Louis Coltrane playing Marlon. None of these people are real, they are all set up to add drama to Burbank’s life and come and go as Christof pleases. It’s such an original element to the film that isn’t confusing by any means. Carrey really shines in this movie as a lovable putz. He is completely unaware of what is happening around him and it almost makes you sad.
In particular, there is a scene that I loved. Okay, in the film, they make up a story that Truman’s dad was “killed” in a boating accident, therefore making Truman afraid of water for the rest of his life to prevent him from ever escaping The Truman Show. When things start to unravel, Christof “brings Mr. Kirk Burbank from the dead” in an attempt to keep Truman on the rigged city. Well, the actors start to fumble and Truman realizes what has happened and goes boating to what he thinks is an escape from Seahaven. While boating, rain comes down on him, heavy winds pick up and there is even thunder and lightning, and the way Carrey performs after surviving the events is just magnificent.
Carrey has that look on his face like he is just amazed at what he has survived and is finally happy to escape Seahaven. It’s a very emotional scene as he overcomes his fear of the water and truly thinks he’s going to live his own life. When it comes to the director, Weir did an excellent job with this film. The lighting is great throughout, with Seahaven looking intentionally fake. As well, music is added in by Christof (Ed Harris) and quite literally fits in with every scene. The dialogue is very well-done and real and phony during the parts where the actors-playing-actors forget their lines and unintentionally give Truman a sign that something is very, very wrong with Seahaven. The camera work was brilliant, especially during the scenes where Truman is alone and rain and such mysteriously fall on him before the sky turns ridiculously sunny.
The SFX with all of the weather were done well and nothing looked fake to where it would take you out of enjoying The Truman Show. As said before, the music really fit in well with scenes. The sad scenes got corny sad music while happy ones got uplifting, cheerful ballads.
In conclusion, The Truman Show is one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most original ideas for a film that I have ever seen. Carrey does an excellent job as Truman Burbank, Harris does a great job as Christof and Peter Weir and the rest of the staff do an excellent job of not making the somewhat complicated plot line too hard to understand. I have no negatives for this film. I proudly give it two thumbs up and it is a crying shame that it did not win Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Original Screenplay and that Carrey wasn’t even nominated for Best Actor at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999.
Tyrone C. is a grade 12 student that enjoy Jim Carrey films and really likes his range as an actor and comedian.