The Truman Show - Seamless by wendyh661


									                    The Truman Show

                             Diabolical But Brilliant!

The Truman Show, though funny at points, deals with a serious theme.
Like Plato's Allegory of the Cave, this film deals with a similar situation with
a modern twist. The film is the epitome of America's obsession with reality
television. The film was released when shows like Survivor and Trading
Spaces were conquering the airwaves. How far could reality TV. actually
get? The Truman Show, undoubtedly, would be the result.

       The film deals with Truman, a man that was abandoned at birth and
was adopted by a television corporation. His life was turned into a TV show
as he grew up in an artificial town known as Seahaven. Its creator is
Christof, who oversees the day to day pseudo-reality of Truman's life. In
many ways, he represents the ultimate modern man. He calls himself the
creator, but unlike God, his creation is all artificial. The entire TV show
revolves around Truman, and the only way to make this possible is to have
absolute control of Truman's surroundings. This not only includes the town
in which he lives, but the people he comes in contact with and even the
weather itself is manipulated to fit the desires of the shows producers,
depending on the mood they want to set for a specific episode.

        The cost to obtain high ratings comes at a heavy price - Truman's
freedom. From the moment of his birth, his life was already decided before
him. Everything from his job, his wife and even his father's death, was all
scripted. He doesn't even have the freedom to choose to be with the one's
he loves most. In the film, he falls in love with Sylvia, who at the time was
playing her role as Lauren. As time passes, he tries to seek her out, and
when he finally does, they meet secretly in a beach where Sylvia tries to
tell Truman that his life is a TV show, but before the message was able to
sink in, Sylvia was taken by another cast member to keep her from
revealing the truth. Off the show, Sylvia continues to fight the producers of
the show by making phone calls, persuading them of the immoral and
dehumanizing effects of the show. Truman's longing for Sylvia was his
ticket to freedom. During the course of time, since his separation from
Sylvia, Truman begins to piece together cut-outs of magazines by taking
eyes, mouths, noses, ears and hair from different models to create the
image of Sylvia's face. Explicitly, this image represents his longing and
love for Sylvia. Implicitly, however, the face he created is the face of
freedom. In a sense, Sylvia, for Truman, becomes Lady Liberty. Like
immigrants arriving on Ellis Island, the first face Truman would see once
he is free from his bondage, would be the face of his Lady Liberty, Sylvia,
who at the end of film rushes to greet him into the real world.

       Truman's main journey in the film is the discovery of truth. Similar to
Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Truman must search beyond his surroundings
and day to day routines to discover the true nature of his identity. These
people and surroundings he comes in contact with constitute his own
shadows. These shadows are his world of ordinary things, but if he is to
discover the truth of the real world, he must step beyond his own cave into
the natural light.

        It is man's curious nature which leads him to wonderment. One of
my favorite moments in the movie is when Truman asks Christof "W as
nothing real?" Christof tells Truman "You were real." Truman was the only
one in Seahaven who was authentic. This, thus, brings us to the notion of
authenticity and inauthenticity. In many ways, Christof was right; Truman
was the only real person (i.e. authentic). Even Christof himself was not
living an authentic life. He had fooled himself into thinking that he was
some type of god who can control people's lives. Truman desires freedom
so much that he yells out for Christof: "If you want to stop me, you 'll have
to kill me!" As Truman fights for his life amidst the raging storm, an
employee implores Christof to cease the storm. He tells him "You're going
to kill him in front of a live audience!" To this Christof indifferently
responds, "He was born before a live audience." Christof has played the
role of God so long that he lost his own authenticity and picked up an
artificial one.

       Another similar and interesting character is Meryl, the actress that
plays Truman's wife. Not only is she a puppet for Christof, but she sells her
body for higher ratings. She tries to persuade Truman to have a child with
her which would undoubtedly have the same fate as his father. There's no
doubt that Meryl would have received a great bonus if she were able to
conceive a child on live television. The moral applications to this would be
absurd. The meaning of sex would be reduced for the sake of higher
ratings. In many ways, this is more implicitly degrading than pornography.
When Truman refuses to have a child, and Meryl leaves the show, the
producers are forced to hire a new actress to play the role of Truman's love
interest. It almost sounds like they're hiring a prostitute with an acting
degree. All this trouble for the sake of becoming the first television show to
feature the very first live conception.

       At the movies end, Christof, in an attempt to persuade Truman to
stay, tells him that the world out there is the sick world. He tells him that by
staying here in this artificial world he can provide safety. Ultimately,
however, Christof cannot control human freedom. He may have had eyes
throughout the entire set, but as Truman so emotionally put it: "You've
never had a camera inside my head." Truman's desire to be free and
authentic leads him to say those famous words which put an end to his
inauthentic career: "In case I don't see you, good morning, good afternoon,
good evening and good night."

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