The Truman Show is a sci-fi film based around a man whose entire life is a reality television show, broadcasted around the clock, everywhere in the world. The protagonist is Truman Burbank, a man who lives on Seahaven Island. Seahaven Island is build inside a dome, near Hollywood, and it is the only place Truman has ever known. He has always wanted to explore, but has a terrible phobia of the sea, as his “father” “died” in it. Everything around him is fake, but he doesn’t know this, and thinks that it is all a reality. He gradually becomes more aware of the circumstances, and finally escapes into the real world, outside of Seahaven Island. The name “Truman” refers to how he is the only “True-man” in the whole show. The story shows how most of our world is faked, to a degree. We are bombarded with advertisements, promotions, and materialistic wishes and needs. For example, Truman has a fear of the water because his father “died” in a boating accident when he was young, and there are many warnings against going to the ocean placed throughout his life in ways such as television, ads, and announcements. This reflects how our day to day lives are controlled by the media, when they cause us to fear many of the ongoings of the world, therefore controlling us and making us easier to trick.
The first scene I will go over is called “Do Something!”. It takes place a little after Truman begins to suspect something is wrong with his “perfect” world. He returns to his home, and sits down to speak with his wife. He begins to panic, and become scared. His wife then offers to help him by giving him a some Mococoa, which is a brand of hot cocoa. She states that it has “All natural cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mount Nicaragua, no artificial sweeteners!” Truman then asks her what she’s talking about, and who she’s talking to. She proceeds to tell him “I’ve tasted other cocoas; this one’s the best.” This sounds eerily like an advertisement you would see on television, right? Remember though, his whole life IS broadcasted on television. She is trying to promote an item during the show. It seems even more so like this because of the camerawork and cinematography.
During most of the movie, and the parts in which Truman speak, the camera is steady, or follows his movements and actions. When his wife is telling him about Mococoa, the camera slowly zooms in on her face, and then the item. Seems familiar? This is exactly the type of camerawork they use in a standard advertisement. On of the scenes focuses on an interview of the creator of the whole show, Christoff. He is questioned on his thought process for keeping Truman in a fake world, never knowing what reality was like. He says that, “It is that each individual is capable of freeing themselves and accept that reality is just a mirror illusion; but they prefer to remain part of the facade.”
This reasoning can be applied to our lives in the real world. We are taught by our parents, at a very young age, who are taught by their parents, to accept and obey everything that society or a system offers and teaches us. For example, our religious beliefs and ideas usually depend on where we are born, or even our morals and goals. We are so submissive and used to the social structure of the world that we rarely question the motives behind it. Another example is a test that was performed on sheep.
Sheep will go anywhere there is a gate, traveling from one pasture to another at the shepherd’s will. It was shown that even when the fencing around that gate was removed, and they could enter freely, they still went through the confines of a gate, and not a single sheep tried to enter via the newly opened space. This applies to us as well. We are so used to following media, political, and religious ideas and rules that we rarely create our own ideas, or go past the confines of the gate. The final scene I will analyze is on of the last scenes. Truman finally finds the wall of the dome, finally proving to him that reality is a lie. He notices a staircase leading to a hidden door, which is his exit from his “perfect” reality, and entrance to the real world.
Before he leaves, a voice seems to come down from the heavens. It is the voice of Christoff, telling Truman that the world he is about to enter is just as fake as the one he is leaving behind. He tells him that this new world is full of infinite dangers, and it is best to stay in his simulated paradise. This is a direct reference to the philosophy of a man named Friedrich Nietzsche. He states, “That in order to move forward and find our purpose in life, we have to leave behind God.” When Truman leaves behind the creator of his reality, Christoff, as well as his controlled, protected, and “perfect” world, he enters one that is dangerous and unpredictable.
Beyond an analogy of religion, this could tell us about the people who control our society. This way of thinking shows that the only way to be free of all of the falseness is to walk away from it. The Truman Show is a movie full of realizations, symbolism, and analogies. It helps us understand that our whole world is fake, to a degree.
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