90s Movie Challenge Week 28: The Truman Show (1998)
Welcome back 90s fans, to another exciting instalment of #90sMC. And we’re glad you’ve come back, especially those loyal readers who return week-on-week to find out what’s happening in the exciting world of nostalgia blogging! Not unlike the viewers of this week’s fictional TV show from 1998 which Cameron McCrorie takes a look at.
How is it going to end? Well stick with us for another 22 weeks to find out, but for now, we’ll hand over to Cameron as he flicks channels over to The Truman Show.
Mike Michaelson: Christof, let me ask you, why do you think that Truman has never come close to discovering the true nature of his world until now?
Christof: We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented. It’s as simple as that.
I remember going to see The Truman Show when it was released in 1998. I distinctly remember this because when myself and my friends turned up at the cinema, my friend who shall remain nameless (Andrew) purchased premium seating. It’s not the defining memory I have of this film but every time I see this particular film it’s always right there in my memories.
Anyway, I had absolutely no knowledge of this film going in and that’s strange for me as even from an early age I was usually up-to-date with all things cinema. But… maybe that was a good thing:
Fun Fact: Robin William was originally considered in the role of Truman!
We start the film in an everyday fashion with various camera shots of Truman going about his daily life (and since I knew nothing of the film as I said, I thought this was a strange and unique way of filming) and the lives of others in the little seaside town of Seahaven Island but with added titles and snippets from the “actors” in the show.
And so begins what I thought was maybe just a run of the mill pseudo-documentary film until you started seeing shots of audience members reactions to watching something in particular and it from this moment on that myself and Truman start having conspiracies about what is taking place in the film and in Seahaven.
Christof: As Truman grew up, we were forced to manufacture ways to keep him on the island.
Young Truman: I like to be an explorer, like the great Magellan.
Teacher: Oh, you’re too late. There’s really nothing left to explore.
At this point in the film, we start seeing the cracks start to appear in the façade that is Truman’s world with the falling of the studio light (brilliantly played off on the radio as aeroplane wreckage) and the wonderful scene with Sylvia/Lauren and Truman individual raincloud.
When we eventually find out just what the secret is behind Truman’s world it really did take me by surprise (although I knew of the concept of 1984, Big Brother wouldn’t hit the screens till 2 years later)
With Truman’s world collapsing around him with his (killed off) father returning and his marriage over, we see Truman make his desperate escape into the seas of Seahaven that had been so terrifying to Truman at a young age. With time running out and A desperate Director trying to keep his star on the show, Truman is subjected to gale force winds and capsizing to end his escape.
Is that the best you can do?
You’re gonna have to kill me!
What do ya do with a drunken sailor? What do ya do with a drunken sailor?What do ya do with a drunken sailor ear-lye in the mor-nin’!
The film ends with the director (Christof) having a heart to heart with Truman finally revealing the truth that Truman had been in a show all along and putting his suspicions to rest and, in one dynamic and well-deserved turn, Truman gets the opportunity to have the last word and leave his fictional life for good and (we hope) into the arms of Sylvia/Lauren who sees this and makes her exit.
What else is on?
Yeah, let’s see what else is on.
Where’s the TV guide?
As I said earlier, this film had totally passed me by on release and it was a genuine thrill to see the hook of Truman being on his own reality show. Coupled with some stellar performances from (at the time) a comedy-only Jim Carrey,l Ed Harris as Christof the director of The Truman Show with an absolutely fantastic score from Phillip Glass, Burkhard Dallwitz and Wojciech Kilar.
So, maybe it wasn’t so bad paying for premium seats when you’re watching a film this good.
Christof: Talk to me. Say something. Well, say something, goddamn it. You’re on television. You’re live to the whole world.
Truman Burbank: In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and good night. Yeah!
Come back again, as WGN’s resident Betty, Rebecca Aulburn takes a look at 1995’s Austen-tacious (Nice, Ed.) teen comedy, Clueless to see whether it’s as phat as she remembers or if it’s totally Monet (As if!). So whether you’re a Kato, a total Baldwin, or even a loadie, you’ve got our digits, and we’ll see you next week. Until then, we’re Audi! (I have no idea what you just said, Ed.)