"Truman show" as an allegory for our time

Essay by JerryzUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

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"The Truman Show" (1998), a film written by Andrew Niccol and directed by Peter Weir, is a dark comedy that can be viewed as an allegory for our time. The narrative concerns Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), who is adopted at birth by a giant corporation. Truman is then raised on a huge sound stage, and everyone in his world, relatives, friends, the people on the street, are actors playing a specific role.

His life is broadcast live, 24 hours a day, The whole "monstrous fabrication" is paid for by advertising that is surreptitiously hidden in the dialogue by the actors (Sharpe 121). The only person in the world who doesn't know that his Disney-esque, 1950s style life is a fake is Truman.

Pulling the strings in this charade is the Truman Show's director, the enigmatic Christof (Ed Harris), who exudes an "air of smug calm" that surely must have come from many sessions with a "yoga instructor" or similar spiritual advisor (Allen 20).

However, Christof's attitude is not the calm of compassion. At the center of Christof's being is not a compassionate view of humanity, but rather a ravenous hunger to manipulate and control (Allen 20). As one reviewer pointed out, Christof is an "empty vessel" and Ed Harris' performance of this individual shows how completely frightening a shallow person can be (Allen 20).

Christof sits above, god-like, in the main control room of the huge, enclosed sound stage that is Truman's hometown of Seahaven, which resembles the moon. If Christof is seen as the "god" of this tiny world, he is not a compassionate deity, but rather like the gods of Mount Olympus, he manipulates the world below him for his own purposes. Christof looks on Truman with a great deal of fondness, and obviously considers himself to be...