June 1998
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Movie review: The Truman Show

By Lawrence Cabanero

Relaxing a bit of the elasticity in his face, Jim Carrey turns in a terrific light dramatic performance in perhaps the most intentive film of the year.

At birth, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) became the first baby adopted by a corporation, a Hollywood studio. He is placed in the world of Seahaven Island, where the his life--his family, his friends, and total strangers--are completely fake. Every moment of his life is continuously transmitted to the television sets of hungry fans around the world without Truman ever knowing.

Director Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society) and screenwriter Andrew Niccol successfully carry out the concept. His world is surrounded by flawed actors who carefully listen to the insrtuctions of the show's director Christof (Ed Harris) and who shamelessly promote the products of paying advertisers in the presense of Truman.

Jim Carrey draws sympathy in every scene. Thousands of hidden cameras follow the real emotions of a man living in a fantasy world. Even when he is only eating a bowl of cereal you can sense his innocence, vulnerability, and likeablity. As Truman begins to question the world around him, you are thrown in the audience that also watches on the screen.

Its real strength though lies in the questions it forces you to ask yourself during and after the film. The Truman Show is much like Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which examines how curiousity overpowers any right a person thinks they have to privacy. Would the world actually accept the idea of maniputating the 30 years in the life of a man? Would we break ratings records to watch him go through the rituals of his life? Realizing how obsessed our culture is with tabloids and soap operas, and how we reacted with extreme interest to the OJ Simpsons trial, it begins to become more believeable.

The Truman Show is fascinating on many levels. A story that is unique that also attempts to raise questions about the world around us. The underlying message is that we should appreciate the world around us and examine the things that we have. It is also nice to see a different side of Jim Carrey and a different kind of summer blockbuster movie.

[A] 93

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