Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Truman Show: A Review (from 1998)

The following review was published in a philosophical journal in June 1998. The journal was Full Context: An International Objectivist Publication, Vol 10, Num 10.

The Truman Show: A Review
by Randy C. Finch

Are you ready to watch a major motion picture that promotes the integrity of the individual? One that vividly illustrates how a human being must be in control of his or her own destiny? Then look no further than “The Truman Show.”

“The Truman Show” is about 30-year-old Truman Burbank, brilliantly portrayed by Jim Carrey. This role is a bit of a change for Mr. Carrey. Known for his slap-stick humor and amazing facial and body contortions, the role of Truman Burbank allowed for little of this. Truman is a business man living a happy, peaceful, “Ozzie and Harriet”-style life. He has a beautiful wife who has his best interest at heart, a wonderful mother, an extremely loyal best friend, and a good, stable job. Yet with all this going for him, Truman is missing something. In some inexplicable way, his life seems mundane and he longs for more. Part of his longing is for the girl he was in love with in college that had been whisked away to Fiji by her father in the midst of their first date.

Truman decides to take control of his life and go to Fiji, only to be thwarted at every turn. Airlines are booked for a month, the bus breaks down, a forest fire blocks the road, and a nuclear reactor begins to leak. It appears that everyone is conspiring to keep him at home. Other subtle clues like a suspicious radio transmission and a fake elevator only add confirmation to his suspicions. He slowly begins to realize that he is being watched wherever he goes and his every move is known.

And indeed he is right, for unknown to him is the fact that he had been adopted by a corporation when he was a baby and has been part of a very popular, 30-year, around-the-clock TV show. Further, all events surrounding his life are just part of the script for the show.

But Truman is not a man to give up easily. He resorts to trickery to evade the unknown conspirators and actually overcomes his greatest fear to make his escape. Drastic attempts to stop his escape almost result in his death. But Truman’s desire to discover the truth and escape the directing hand of his adversaries does not let him turn back. In the end, when confronted with a choice of living in the safety and comfort of a world under another’s control versus an unknown world in which he could create his own destiny, Truman opts for the latter.

While the whole premise of this movie is far-fetched, the message is not. An individual needs, yea requires, control over his own life. Without it he is nothing but a puppet living at the whim of others. Don’t miss “The Truman Show.”

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