The Truman Show (1998): Peter Weir's Scathing Satire On Reality Television

A Jim Carrey movie with a difference

By Aditya Jandial

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

The Truman Show, BluRay, Movie Poster, Directed by Peter Weir, starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
The Truman Show (2015) - By Peter Weir
IMDb Ratings: 8.1
Genre: Drama
Cast: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 103 min
Color: Color

Summary: An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a T.V. show.

In the second half of the past decade, one of the most phenomenal changes on the TV viewer’s guide has been the advent of reality shows. Going by the TRP ratings, the prime time coverage slots, and the humongous pile of cash involved, it certainly would be too late to pass it off as another fad in the life of the burgeoning middle class.
Baby Truman captivates the world, Directed by Peter Weir
Baby Truman captivates the world
Roughly defined as: “A television programme in which ordinary people are continuously filmed, designed to be entertaining rather than informative”.

But the previous seasons and scandals of the infamous shows present us a side where the emotional aspects of the participants garner more TRPs than the concept or the prize money. Similar was the theme and the storyline of the 1998 Jim Carrey comic caper – The Truman Show.
Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank in The Truman show, Directed by Peter Weir
Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank in The Truman Show

The plot revolves around a 30 year old - Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman, who is well settled in his life with a better paying job, a loving wife and a supportive friend. The only things that would set out of this vanilla story would be his scare of the sea; which flashbacks reveal was the reason for his father’s death and his college girlfriend whom he still can’t get out of his heart. Things turn awry when Truman realizes that things and people around him are far more predictable than real. He starts feeling that things around him have been synchronously staged which makes him inquisitive on the people around him. He further finds that he is under surveillance to an extent that even the FM stations monitor his daily routine. One thing leads to another and it is revealed that Truman has not been able to get out of the city limits due to reasons unknown to him.
The Truman Show gets broadcasted on TV, Directed by Peter Weir
The Truman Show gets broadcasted on TV 
But what he does not know is that underlying the veil of the calm city is a theatre where every person around him is a trained actor and his life is the stage of a 24 X 7 reality show watched around the globe by billions of people.

What follows is the journey of a man and his will to understand the world and break free of the inhibitions and fears. Also it goes on to be a game of one-upmanship between the omnipotent creator and his creation.
Truman romances on Reality TV, starring Jim Carrey
Truman romances on Reality TV
Chord Strikers:
  • Jim Carey in his portrayal of a guy struggling to come in terms with the surroundings
  • The car trip when Burbank tries to get out of the city and the tactics employed to stop him
  • The portrayal of the city culture and the thirst for private life details of its celebrities
  • Ed Harris (as Christof – the creator) who creeps with his eyes and soothes you with his dialogues
Give me a break:
  • A Jim Carey movie with bundles of  sympathy, love and anger taking the center stage rather his trademark--laugh out loud comedy
Ed Harris as The Truman Show creator Christof, Directed by Peter Weir
Ed Harris as The Truman Show creator Christof
Show Stopper:

My pick would be the final scene where Burbank takes on his fears and gets to the sea in hope of crossing the city borders. The journey that follows would not give you the goose bumps that the ‘Life of Pi’ promises but by the end of the 100 minutes of run time, it would surely make you feel sympathetic towards the protagonist and angst against the antagonist.

Cultural Shock:

Post the release of the movie, a number of people started feeling that their lives have been staged realty shows. Psychiatrist Joel Gold claims that he has come across about 40 cases of people who feel that their lives are being televised. The authors suggest that the "Truman explanation" is a result of the patients' search for meaning in their perception that the ordinary world has changed in some significant but inexplicable way.

The syndrome is often termed as ‘The Truman Show Delusion’ or the ‘Truman Syndrome’.
Truman discovers the exit door, Directed by Peter Weir, starring Jim Carrey
Truman Burbank discovers the exit door 
Quote Unquote:

We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented; it's as simple as that”

- Christof  (On why Truman accepts his world)

Moral of the story:

The movie in its own view can be regarded as the modern day and a graphical take on the fabled ‘Thirsty Crow’. The movie goes out of its way at times to preach the moral which rightly states into: Where there is a will there is a way!

About Author - 

Aditya is a research Analyst with a leading consulting firm who works closely on understanding the banking sector, so overall he is a financial analyst with movies on his mind.

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your insightful comments are highly appreciated!

People who liked this also liked...
Share on Google Plus


  1. I absolutely loved this side of Jim Carrey. This film and The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. Brilliant movies, surreal plots.
    Jim Carrey was adorable as Truman.

  2. Thanks Rajesh. Keep posted for more reviews !!

  3. Thanks Aparna. Yes, I would agree to this being one of the different movie he has been a part of.


Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.