LeamyEnglish11 - Truman Show Essay Topics - Wikispaces
The intention of this essay is to discuss both films (The Truman Show, 1998 and Rear Window, 1954) alongside established theoretical criticism (Laura Mulvey and Norman K.
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The framed strory within a story, that one’s life is part of a tv show that is being scripted and played out by the people around him for a watching audience of billions, is an uncanny case of reality imitating fiction as one’s reality is bound in the unreal- the irony arises from the film setting up Truman’s idyllic lifestyle and then revealing to its viewers the subtle intrusions the TV show makes into the familiarity of reality. The viewers first get introduced to Sylvia in the film, as she introduces herself as Lauren to Truman: this is interesting as her real name as an actor is Lauren but in the film this name is just a fake one she tells Truman in the show when her real name in film is Sylvia- confusion within confusion. She is an important character as she is the only one to hint Truman of his fake life. She enters the film as an extra in the film within film then she is whisked away by the TV producers to the real world within the film. Sylvia is one of the characters who, like Truman’s father, makes viewers and Truman realize of fake reality within the movie.
The nature of Truman is very ambiguous because he shares the role of the director with Christof. Truman is the creative genius in the film/show while Chirstof is the exploitive genius. In order for there to be a show that is captivating Truman must provide the content and Christof provides the infrastructure to do so. Therefore, I believe Truman is the more significant but mostly unaware part of the director (God).
Truman is the whole point of the show. He dictates what will happen so that the viewers might respond to it and influence the ratings. Truman’s vision and perceptions are the only ones that matter in the show because what he sees is what we see (not literally but he directs us to focus on specific things he feels are important). We are in tune with his emotional state by the way the images of the film are portrayed.
In a way the film creates a dialogue between us and Truman. There are times when he is staring right at us as if trying to speak to us directly. The joke about Truman discovering the camera is his mirror was just a play off the condition the audience felt at the same time. Truman was unconsciously breaking out of the 4th wall and communicating with us. This was slightly unsettling because Truman seemed to be self-aware of his circumstances in relation to the audience. We, like his many fans throughout the film were his voyeuristic observers and at times it seemed like he was watching us in return. This situation is reminiscent of the possible role-reversals between prey and hunter. We could in fact be the ones being scrutinized and examined by Truman.
A phrase that caught my attention in the film was Meryl’s comment that Truman actually wants to become an adolescent again. Ironically, Truman seems to have not reached that mental maturity within his life despite his physical growth. He in essence is a man-child. I find this condition of Truman to be his most enduring and repelling quality. In ways I can relate to his desires to escape his confined environment and seek true freedom. However, I felt these desires when I was a teenager. Truman is an established adult who was on the verge of starting a family.