Movie Review By Heather Clisby
"The Truman Show" is one of the most important films of this decade and if you have any concern about where our sleazy, tabloid, nothing-is-too private culture is headed, it will also qualify as one of the most frightening.
Though the film stars Jim Carrey as the title character, this is not, I repeat, NOT a vehicle for Carrey's wackiness. It is also not a light version of "Cable Guy," this was clearly an acting assignment; Truman Burbank is someone you relate to, not laugh at. Those who get a rash from Carrey and refuse to see his movies are going to hate themselves for letting "The Truman Show" pass by. It is not his movie, the story is much, much bigger than any actor in it.
Okay, so now here's me trying to describe this film without giving the plot away. Ignore the trailers, they've got nothing to do with what actually happens in the film. Fans of the old series "The Twilight Zone" will be pleased with the film's fresh-scrubbed surface and dark, creepy underbelly. What Truman thinks is his world is one that has been created for him, from beginning to end, down to the last detail. In short, millions of people know everything about him and he knows nothing.
Truman lives in Seahaven, an idyllic town that seems too good to be true÷and it is. Truman's wife, Meryl (played by Laura Linney) is a Donna Reed clone who looks straight into the camera suggesting which home products to use. Ed Harris does a superb job as Christof, Truman's conceptual creator, who plays God under the guise of an eccentric director.
One of the funniest scenes has Truman visiting a Seahaven travel agency where world exploration is actively discouraged. Instead of island paradise photos all about the office, there are posters with plane crashes that scream, "Don't Let This Happen To You!" Needless to say, Truman's natural curiosity is not encouraged.
In fact, Truman's world is so controlled and his mind has been so carefully guided toward specific behaviors that when he begins to break his schedule, everyone around him is thrown into a panic. "Somebody help me, I'm being spontaneous!" he screams.
"The Truman Show" describes itself as a "wicked mirror of millennium America" and it is a fitting, if not chilling, summation. Where have we come from? Where are we going? Were we always this shallow? Why does everything that come from the media these days seem so seedy? Dare to look if you can folks, the reflection in the mirror is not a pretty sight.
© 1998 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 6/3/98
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