When I first see The Truman Show, I know so little about it in advance. Still, once I started watching the movie, I said to myself “Oh, yes, I know this. I know what this is going to be”. I don’t mean I had thought of the idea myself, but it confirmed innate suspicions I had held that the world might all be a silly show playing all the time.
My next source of delight was the balance of desire and dread in the movie. After all, Jim Carrey was being as nice as pie as Truman Burbank, who is cheery, polite and friendly with everyone in that perfect, sun-bathed resort of Seahaven where he had lived all his life. In Seahaven, Truman begins to grow suspicious, he asks himself questions like why is everyone always in the same place at the same time every day. On his car radio, by chance, he picks up the chat of what seem to be crew members making he doubt more of his life. What are they doing? Is it conceivable that he is the center of all this attention? Is he in a show for the amusement of the world? The struggle between comedy and threat is personified in the character of his wife, Meryl (Laura Linney), as he gradually realizes that he doesn’t really like her.
The Truman Show full movie had originally been a spec script by Andrew Niccol, then it went through many rewrites, coaxed along by the director Peter Weir to find a balance of light and dark in the project. The movie could have turned out to be another Invasion of the Body Snatchers. As it is, Truman finds the courage and the means to escape and that leads to one of the great moments in movie history. Truman on his small boat comes to the point where the enormous dome protects and imprisons Seahaven as well as his life so far and The Truman Show. The dome drops down to the sea like a screen not only metaphor a movie screen but also the kind of screen preventing us from looking or going beyond a certain place. Truman is going to go beyond it.
Not only is the script great but also the performance of Jim Carrey making the movie’s success. One of his strengths is he has always been likable. Yet, it carried the feeling that he might snap at any minute. What makes Carrey frustrated but so intriguing is the trouble he has had fighting optimism and its opposite. He may be the most unstable actor we have. That somehow makes him the perfect cast for playing Truman.
All in all, The Truman Show movie was sometimes called a religious allegory. Well, maybe, but that wasn’t what got me. What I saw was a metaphor for the movies and their show and the notion that the beautiful controlled life under the dome was hiding a wilder, less comfortable life outside. And Truman had to go for the true. It changed my life – unless there’s yet another dome farther out.